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, January 22, 2012

Citrus Tart

Here's a beautiful ovo-vegetarian (in case you're avoiding dairy) tart for your next special occasion.  I got the recipe from Southern Living magazine, and I topped it with citrus sections as they suggested.  I liked the citrus, because contrary to popular belief, citrus is actually in season in the winter.  However, sectioning the citrus was a bit tedious, and this would be equally delicious topped with kaleidoscopic strawberry and kiwi slices or maybe some other fresh fruit topping...use your imagination!

1/2 c. sweetend flaked coconut
2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. powdered sugar
3/4 c. vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance.)
1/4 t. coconut extract
2/3 c. sugar
2.5 T. cornstarch
1 1/3 c. orange juice
1 large egg, beaten
3 T. vegan margarine
2 t. orange zest
pinch of salt
6 or so cirtus large enough to easily section with a paring knife OR
fresh fruit like sliced strawberries and kiwi OR
fresh fruit of your choice

The reason I intro'd this as "for your next special occasion" is that it takes a bit of effort to pull it all together.  You have to make the crust, make the filling, and slice or section all the fruit to arrange on top.  Keep that in mind.  Also, you'll probably want to make this a day or so in advance, because the filling needs to chill for several hours.  Here goes!

First, prepare the crust.  It's pretty easy!  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake the flaked coconut in a single layer in a shallow pan 4 - 5 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.  Allow coconut to cool completely (about 15 minutes).

Pulse the coconut, flour, and powedered sugar in a food processor 3 or 4 times or until combined.  Add vegan margarine and extract, then pulse 5 or 6 times or until crumbly.  With the food processor running, gradually add 3 T. water, and process until the dough forms a ball and leaves the sides of the bowl.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface.  Roll it into a 10-in circle if using a 9-inch round tart pan or into a 12.5 x 10-inch rectangle if using a 12 x 9-inch rectangle tart pan.  Either way, the tart pan needs to have a removable bottom.  The rolled dough should be about 1/4-inch thick.  Press the rolled dough into the tart pan, onto the bottom and up the sides.  Trim the excess dough and either discard (gasp!) or save for another purpose.  (I used my excess to make 2 tiny crusts in ramekins for another use.)

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, and cool completely on a wire rack.

While the tart is cooling, make the filling.  Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a 3-qt. saucepan.  Gradually whisk in the orange juice.  Whisk in the egg.  Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly.  Boil (still whisking) 3 - 4 minutes.

Remove the filling from heat.  Whisk in the vegan margarine, orange zest, and salt.  Spread the filling evenly into the cooled crust.  Place heavy-duty plastic wrap over the tart, directly touching the filling to prevent a skin from forming.  Chill the tart 8 hours.

Lastly, arrange your pretty citrus sections in a spiral or in rows on the tart.  I used Cara Cara oranges (which have a nice salmon color), Rio Star grapefruit (one of the reddest grapefruits), and white grapefruit (nearly colorless).  I think blood oranges would have been beautiful in the mix, but they were not available yet when I made the tart.  You could also choose to use all the same citrus for a monochrome effect.  To make your sections attractive, cut about 1/4 inch from the stem and blossom end of the citrus so that it can sit flat.  Then use a sharp knife to cut away every trace of the peel and pith around the sides.  Next use a sharp paring knife to cut the sections away from the membranes.  I found that very seedy or smallish citrus are nearly impossible to do....Alternatively, use the strawberry and kiwi slices or the fresh fruit of your choice.

It's kind of a lot of work, but the results are so pretty!  And no dairy!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fried Apples

Here's a wonderful recipe for fried apples from Williams-Sonoma.  These are the perfect breakfast side dish to vegan Southern-style biscuits (recipe here) in the fall and winter.

3 T. vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance.)
6 Fuji apples, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. cornstarch
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
2 t. vanilla

In a medium nonstick skillet, melt vegan margarine over medium-high heat.  Add apples, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally to coat apples, about 18 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat and stir in vanilla.  Serves 4 - 6 as a side dish.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Soy and Ginger Tofu in an Asian-Inspired Meal

In a 2011 issue of Martha Stewart's Living magazine, there were recipes for an Asian-inspired meal including the herbed rice and steamed bok choy recipes I previously posted.  The magazine's entrée was soy-and-ginger pork chops, but I was able to substitute tofu very well in the recipe, making it even more Asian-inspired and, of course, vegetarian.  Here is a photo of the meal along with the entrée recipe as I made it:

Soy-and-Ginger-Marinated Tofu Steaks or Cubes
I made the recipe using tofu steaks, but I think cubes would have worked even better.

1/2 c. plus 1 T. soy sauce (tamari or shoyu may also be used)
1/4 c. plus 1.5 t. canola oil
1/4 c. finely grated fresh ginger (peel it before grating)
1/4 c. plus 1.5 t. light brown sugar
2 scallions, finely chopped
3/4 t. freshly ground pepper
1 lb. extra-firm tofu (not the silken kind - NOTE:  Tofu's texture often is improved by freezing it, then thawing it.  To do this process, plan ahead.)
1 T. canola oil (plus more, if needed)
1 scallion, thinly sliced, for garnish

Whisk together the soy sauce, 1/4 c. plus 1.5 t. canola oil, ginger, brown sugar, chopped scallion, and freshly ground black pepper.

Squeeze any excess water from the tofu.  Cut the tofu into 4 steaks or into 1-inch cubes, as you wish.  Arrange the tofu in a nonreactive baking dish, reserving 3 T. of the marinade.  Pour the remainder over the tofu, and cover the dish with plastic wrap.  Marinate the tofu for 45 minutes, flipping the steaks or tossing the cubes halfway through that time.

Heat the remaining 1 T. canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Remove the tofu from the marinade and sear the steaks or cubes for about 4 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium.  Flip the steaks or cubes and sear again until just cooked through (3 - 5 more minutes).  Transfer the tofu to a platter and allow it to rest 5 minutes.

In the meantime, add the reserved marinade to the skillet.  Simmer over medium heat until thickened, about 30 seconds.  Spoon this sauce over the tofu.  Garnish with thinly sliced scallion.  Serves 2 - 4 as an entrée.

I served the meal with iced green tea to complete the Asian theme.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Steamed Bok Choy With Chile, Garlic, and Ginger

With ingredients like bok choy, chiles, garlic, and ginger, I'm not sure if this recipe from Martha Stewart's Living magazine is for good food or for good medicine!

2 t. canola oil
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced (leave the seeds in for more heat)
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lb. baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise (I couldn't find baby bok choy, although I'm sure it's more tender than standard bok choy.  At the recipe author's suggestion, I used regular bok choy and sliced it lengthwise into 1 1/2-inch pieces.)
3 T. water
coarse salt

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat.  Cook the jalapeno, garlic, and ginger for 1 minute.

Add the bok choy and water to the skillet.  Steam, tightly covered, until tender.  (7-8 minutes for baby bok choy.  Test with a fork.)  Uncover bok choy, and cook until any remaining liquid evaporates.  Season with coarse salt.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lo Mein with Tempeh Cubes

Below is a photo of the vegetable lo mein recipe (recipe here) I previously posted.  At this meal I served it with tempeh cubes, and the easy recipe for them follows:

4 T. canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. soy sauce
8 oz. tempeh, cubed into about 1/2-inch cubes
1 t. sesame seeds

In a medium skillet, heat the canola oil over medium to medium-high heat.  Sauté the minced garlic in the warm oil, about 1 minute.  Add the soy sauce and tofu cubes.  Brown tofu in oil until golden.  Sprinkle with seasame seeds.

Serves 2 as a side dish.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sauteed Baby Collard Greens for Luck in the New Year

Happy New Year!  In the Southeastern US, we have a lot of food traditions.  One of them is that on New Year's Day, you are supposed to eat black-eyed peas for luck and greens for money.  And when people say "greens" in the South, they usually mean collard greens that are cooked with meat.   Here's a vegetarian "greens" recipe you can use for luck and money (and important nutrients!) in the new year.  It's not traditional, but it's good.  I got it from Jennifer Biggs's column in The Commercial Appeal.  She credited http://www.sweetandsavoryfoods.blogspot.com/.  I served the sautéed baby collard greens with black-eyed peas and sweet potato casserole (recipe here, topping here) for a delicious, balanced, and pretty seasonal meal.  The greens serve 2 - 4 people as a side dish.

baby collard greens (The recipe calls for "one bunch" of collard greens, which is pretty ambiguous.  I got a bag of baby collards from a vendor at our local farmers' market, and I'd say it was about a 1.5-gallon bag that was full.  Remember that greens reduce in bulk significantly when cooked.)
2 T. olive oil
1 T. crushed red pepper flakes (The amount here scared me a little, but it was totally fine with the quantity of greens I used.)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
salt, to taste
vinegar (optional), to taste (I didn't use it, but it's pretty common in the South to put vinegar on greens, so feel free to give it a whirl.)

Wash the collards well in a sink full of water.  You may need to wash them twice to get all the grit and dirt off.  Remove the thick stems by folding the leaves in half at the stem and ripping the stem out.  Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces, and whirl them in a salad spinner to get most of the water off.

In a large pan with a well-fitting lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the red pepper flakes and the minced garlic, then add the collard greens and salt to taste (I salted pretty generously from a shaker...maybe 3 generous passes or so to start.), stirring everything to coat the leaves thoroughly.  Cover the pan, and allow the greens to steam for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until they have wilted.  Reduce heat to low and allow greens to continue to steam until a taste test reveals they are tender and flavorful.  Serve, splashed with vinegar if desired.