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, December 28, 2013

Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells

I know this recipe from Food Network magazine doesn't sound right.  Pumpkin?!  But the truth is this is a great way to sneak another vegetable into your diet, because it tastes great and looks beautiful.  Give it a try!
I actually made my own ricotta using another Food Network recipe, which I'll include here, but store-bought is fine.  The ricotta recipe said it would make 3 cups, but it made about 1.5 cups, so this cheese-making process, which is new to me, may be unpredictable.  It was quite easy, though, and it allowed me to use milk from a local farmer that literally names all his cows.

24 jumbo pasta shells
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2.5 cups (22 oz.) ricotta cheese (recipe below, or choose a nice organic brand, like Organic Valley)
1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
3/4 c. plus 2 T. (2.5 oz.) Parmesan or pecorino Romano, grated
1 large egg white
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. fresh basil, chopped
1 T. fresh sage, finely chopped (optional - I used about 1/2 t. dried sage, because I wasn't sure if I would like the taste.  Turns out at this amount, I couldn't even taste it.)
1 t. salt
1 t. freshly ground pepper
1 26-oz. jar tomato pasta sauce

Cook the pasta shells according to package instructions, then drain.  Drizzle with the oil, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, stir together the ricotta, pumpkin, 3/4 c. Parmesan or pecorino Romano, egg white, garlic, basil, sage, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread all the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish.  Fill each pasta shell with about 3 T. ricotta mixture and arrange in baking dish.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil, sprinkle the shells with the remaining 2 T. Parmesan or pecorino Romano, and bake for 15 minutes more.

Serves 6 - 8.

Homemade Ricotta
1/2 gallon whole milk
1 t. kosher salt
3 T. lemon juice

Line a metal colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth, then set the colander in a bowl.

In a large pot over high heat, bring the milk and salt to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Add lemon juice, and stir until curds form (1 - 2 minutes).

Using a slotted spoon or small strainer, transfer curds to colander.  Let drain 1 - 2 minutes.

Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.  (This is supposed to make 3 cups, but I got about 1.5 cups.)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Grits with Smoky Black-eyed Peas and Collards

Yet another fantastic dish from Food Network magazine.  If you want to make this vegan, just omit the cheese from the grits (and probably increase the salt in the grits, but that is your call).  I know you're going to love this!

1 T. canola oil
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 bunch fresh collard greens, stemmed and chopped
¼ t. cayenne
1 t. smoked paprika
2 15-oz. cans chopped tomatoes (not drained)
2 15-oz. can black-eyed peas (not drained)
1 c. grits (not the quick-cooking kind)
4 c. water 
Heat the canola oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the bell peppers, onion, collard greens, cayenne, and ½ t. salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly soft (about 8 minutes).  Add the paprika, tomatoes (with liquid), and black-eyed peas (with liquid) and bring to a simmer.  Simmer 15 minutes, then season with salt, if desired.
Meanwhile, combine the grits, water, and ¼ t. salt (or salt to taste) in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Cover, turn heat down to low, and simmer 5 minutes or until desired consistency.  Remove from heat.
Divide the grits between 4 pasta-style bowls, and top with tomato mixture.
Serves 4.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower and Pepper Salad

I've been getting a lot of food inspiration from Food Network magazine, and that includes this recipe.  It goes perfectly with the tofu Cuban sandwiches previously posted.

3 bell peppers, seeded and veined
3 T. olive oil, separated
½ t. cumin
½ t. salt, separated
pinch cinnamon
pinch cayenne
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 T. lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Cut each bell pepper into 8 large pieces.
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 T. olive oil, cumin, ¼ t. salt, cinnamon, and cayenne.  On a rimmed baking sheet, toss this mixture with the bell peppers, cauliflower, and celery.
Roast 15 - 20 minutes in the preheated oven, toss with remaining 1 T. olive oil, lemon juice, remaining ¼ t. salt, and black pepper.  Serve warm.

Serves 4.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tofu Cubans

I got this excellent Cuban recipe from Food Network magazine...and no, I didn't substitute the tofu for something else.  Their recipe called for it!  Although I was a little skeptical about the combination of the ingredients, these sandwiches were so good last night that we're having them again for lunch today.  YUM.
If you want to make these sandwiches vegan, it's as easy as not using the cheese.  Enjoy!

1 small onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1.5 T. extra-virgin olive oil
juice of one orange
1 14-oz. pkg extra-firm tofu, well drained (Not the silken kind.  I like to freeze my tofu for 24 hours, then thaw it.  It improves the texture.)
4 small hoagie rolls, split (Please use real bread, not the awful eternal-shelf-life bread.)
1/4 c. yellow or stone-ground mustard
1.25 c. shredded cheese (The recipe called for Swiss, but I used mozzarella.  Use whatever you like.  If making vegan sandwiches, omit cheese.)
2/3 c. chopped roasted red peppers, drained
1/2 kosher dill pickle, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
In a shallow dish, combine the onion, garlic, olive oil, and orange juice to create a marinade.  Set aside.
Squeeze the excess moisture out of the block of tofu.  Lay the tofu on a cutting board and cut into 8 equal slices.  Add the slices to the shallow dish of marinade, turn to coat, and marinate 5 - 10 minutes.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Turn the tofu to coat again, then add to the hot skillet.  Cook until golden, about 3 minutes on each side.  Transfer the tofu to a plate, then pour the marinade into the hot skillet.  Cook, stirring, about 4 minutes, then remove from heat.
Spread the cut sides of the rolls with mustard and sprinkle with the shredded cheese (if using).  Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
Sandwich the prepared rolls with peppers, pickle, onion mixture, and tofu.  Working in batches, add the sandwiches to the hot cast-iron skillet, then top with another heavy skillet to flatten.  Cook until golden brown and the cheese melts (if using cheese), 2 - 3 minutes per side.  Serve warm.
Serves 4.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Candy Cane Cookies

I don't know where my mom got this recipe, because we've been making and eating it since I was a child.  At that time, we shaped the cookies into candy canes.  That's how the recipe went.  As I've gotten, ahem, older, we changed them to pinwheels.  The candy cane hooks were ornery and often broke off, damaging the appearance - but not the taste! - of these cookies.  The pinwheels give the cookies an impressive, complicated look, but they're not at all difficult to form.

These cookies have a cakey cookie texture, and they are not as sweet as many modern cookies.  Maybe that's why I like them:  the mild sweetness, the texture, and definitely the almond flavoring, which is my favorite.  I hope you enjoy them, too.

2 sticks vegan margarine, room temperature (I recommend Earth Balance or some other vegan margarine that has no hydrogenated oils in it.)
1 c. sifted confectioner's sugar (a.k.a. "powdered sugar")
1 egg (Vegans, feel free to try this with an egg replacer like Ener-G and let me me know how it turns out!)
2 - 2.5 t. almond extract (I go with the extra half teaspoon.)
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t. plus 1/8 t. salt
1 T. plus 1.5 t. baking powder
red food coloring, to color
granulated sugar, for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix the butter, confectioner's sugar, egg, and almond extract in a medium bowl.  In another bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Combine the flour mixture with the butter mixture.

Divide the dough in half.  In a separate bowl, blend red food coloring into half of the dough.  I'd start with about 20 drops, then go from there until you have the color you want.

Now, on a lightly floured surface (Don't worry if the red dough gets white flour dust on it.  It won't show up after cooking.), roll a 6-inch strip of red dough and a 6-inch strip of non-colored dough so that it looks like, well, a worm!  (You can make longer strips, but keep in mind the cookies will be larger and take longer to bake.  I usually make mine bigger.)  Twist the red worm with the white worm so that you now have a single red-and-white twisted worm.

At this point, you decide if you want "candy canes" or "pinwheels.":
(1)  If you want a candy cane, just make the cane hook at the end and move to an ungreased cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar, if desired.
(2)  If you want pinwheels, shown above, curl the twisted worm in a spiral, and you have your pinwheel.  Move to an ungreased cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar, if desired.
Either way, repeat with remaining dough.

Bake about 12 - 15 minutes or until risen and set.  Remember that finished cookies look a little undercooked in the oven.  The moment you notice the non-colored dough just starting to brown, it's time to remove them from the oven.  Cool on a rack, then enjoy!

The amount this recipe makes will vary, depending on how large you make your cookies.  I made large pinwheels last year, and I got probably 20 cookies.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Uncle Ken's Banana Pudding

My Uncle Ken was known for his homemade banana pudding.  He brought it to every family gathering.  After losing Uncle Ken earlier this year, it's comforting to remember him by making - what else? - his banana pudding.  I modified his recipe slightly to make it non-dairy, but that only makes it even more popular at the Today Tomorrow household.  Miss you Uncle Ken!
1/3 c. flour
1/2 c. plus 2 T. plus 2 t. sugar
2 T. plus 2 t. cornstarch (Try to get non-GMO cornstarch.  I use Rumford brand.)
2 c. almond milk
4 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 t. vanilla or almond extract
vanilla wafers
2 - 3 bananas
In a large saucepan, mix the flour, sugar, and cornstarch with a whisk.  Whisk in the almond milk, then the egg yolks.
Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly.  When the mixture is thickened to a pudding, whisk in the vanilla or almond extract and remove from heat.
In the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish, layer vanilla wafers to cover the bottom and create an edge with a row of wafers standing around the perimeter.  Cover the vanilla wafer layer with sliced bananas, then pour the pudding to cover both layers.  Refrigerate, then serve.
Serves 4 - 6.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Whole Stuffed Pumpkin

Here's the recipe for the entree Scott and I had for our lovely Halloween dinner this year.  It was beautiful, it was tasty, and it made the entire kitchen pleasantly fragrant with thyme.  I'd say this would make a beautiful presentation as a vegetarian Thanksgiving entree for a small group (or make 2 or 3 for a crowd).
The recipe is based on a non-vegetarian recipe from www.npr.org (recipe here).  The recipe's author emphasized its flexibility, so I used her recipe as a template and filled it in with my own tastes and local availability.  You can do the same!  The notes are not mine; they all belong to the source recipe.

3-lb. pumpkin
salt and freshly-ground pepper
enough cooked rice to fill the pumpkin (approximately 2 cups)
3 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1 oz. Parmesan cheese
2 - 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 t. smoked paprika (regular paprika will not have the same taste)
1/4 c. shallots, peeled and minced (or 1/4 c. chopped scallions or chives)
1 T. minced fresh thyme (or 1 t. dried thyme)
1/3 c. heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that's just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin.  (NOTE:  If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole.  You'll have to serve it from the pot, which is an appealingly homey way to serve it.  If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn't so easy.)

Using a sturdy, sharp knife and caution, cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin.  You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin.  Clear away the strings and seeds from the cap and from inside the pumpkin.  Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.

Toss the cooked rice, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, smoked paprika, minced shallots, and thyme together in a bowl.  Season with pepper and, if desired, salt, then pack the mix into the cleaned and seasoned pumpkin.  The pumpkin should be well filled.  You may have a little too much filling or you might need to add to it.

Stir the cream with a little salt and pepper,and pour it into the pumpkin.  Again, you may have too much or too little.  You don't want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened.

Put the cap in place, and bake the pumpkin until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife.  Becase the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, you may want to remove the cap for the last 20 minutes or so so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.  Fully cooking the pumpkin can take anywhere from 60 - 120 minutes.

To serve the pumpkin, you can cut wedges from the pumpkin, as below, you can spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful, or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, then mix everything up.

Serves 2 - 4.  I served this with buttery-soft navy beans, sautéed kale, and heavy multi-grain bread for a perfect autumn meal.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Roasted Okra

Here's another okra recipe to help use this summer's bumper crop, and happily it's something a little different.  This recipe comes from www.allrecipes.com, and I made a couple of small adjustments.
about 18 - 25 tender okra pods, 2-3 inches long, capped (larger okra can be used but should be cut into 1/3-inch lengths)
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Add the okra, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the baking sheet, and toss to coat.  Arrange the okra on a single layer, and roast in the preheated oven 10 - 15 minutes or until desired texture.  Serve warm.
Serves 2 - 3 as a side dish.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Cornbread Pancakes

Cornbread without having to make an entire skillet of cornbread!  This is perfect for me and Scott so we don't have to struggle to eat an entire skillet of cornbread between just 2 people before it goes bad.  This recipe came from www.simpledailyrecipes.com, and I made only minimal adjustment to the post.  And, oh yeah, it's vegan!  Woot!
1/2 c. yellow cornmeal (not cornbread mix)
1/2 c. unbleached AP flour
2 1/4 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
3/4 c. rice milk or almond milk
2 T. canola oil
1 T. white vinegar
1 T. vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance brand.)
In a medium bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt together.  Add the milk, oil, and vinegar and stir until mixed.
Heat a griddle (I use cast iron.) over medium heat.  Put 1 t. vegan margarine on the griddle and melt to coat.  Add 1/4 c. of the batter to the griddle, and cook 1 - 2 minutes (until golden on the bottom and dry-ish on top), then flip.  Cook until the other side is golden and the cake is cooked through.  Repeat with remaining batter, refreshing the melted margarine as needed.  Serve hot.
Makes 5 - 6 pancakes.  Doubles easily.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Smoky Potatoes

I don't remember what magazine I found this recipe in.  I was sitting in the doctor's office with Scott when I saw this in a magazine and literally just photographed the recipe for later.  It's good!  Scott's not even a potato fan but still enjoyed this smoky vegan side dish.
1 lb. potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bell pepper, any color, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 T. olive oil
1 T. smoked paprika (This recipe is not the same with regular paprika.  Be sure to get the smoked paprika.  You won't be sorry!)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly-ground pepper
4 scallions, chopped
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes and bell pepper with the olive oil, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.  Arrange in an even layer, and roast, turning once or twice, until the potatoes are golden brown and tender (20 - 25 minutes).
Toss with the chopped scallions, and serve warm.  Serves 3 - 4 as a side dish.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hearts of Palm Carnival

I'd never had hearts of palm, but my friend Natasha had been particularly exuberant about her love for them just before I saw this vegan recipe featuring them in the paper years ago.  The Commercial Appeal credited the The Sugar Mill Caribbean Cookbook by Jinx and Jefferson Morgan, but when Scott and I finally got around to trying this recipe last night it tasted more Mediterranean than Caribbean.  Either way it was guh-ood.  I think this would be a popular appetizer.  We literally ate it standing at the counter, leaning over the cutting board, glasses of chilled white wine on hand.  Hope you love it as much as we did!
1/2 c. coarsley chopped Kalamata olives
3 coarsely chopped tomatoes
3 chopped green onions, white and green parts
1 - 2 jalapeno peppers, minced
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
18 canned hearts of palm, cut in half vertically
loose-leaf lettuce
In a bowl, mix all ingredients except the hearts of plam and lettuce.   Arrange the lettuce on 6 salad plates, place hearts of palm in a fan shape in the center of the lettuce.  Mound the vegetables at the base of each fant and serve.  Serves 6.
NOTE:  We did not do this fancy presentation.  We just broke off pieces of warm pita bread, topped with a leaf of lettuce, then mounded on the vegetables.  This would work on toasted bread or crackers or whatever you like.  It was really delicious!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Ice Cream Sandwich

A seriously yum snack from Dash magazine...

1 pint Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream (or your ice cream of choice)
1 package Pepperidge Farms soft-baked Montauk chocolate chip cookies
1/2 of an 11- or 12-oz. pkg chocolate chips
1 T. canola oil

Allow the ice cream to soften slightly.  Lay 4 cookies upside down on your work surface.  Spread each cookie with a thick layer of softened ice cream (up to an inch thick).  Top the ice cream with another cookie, right-side up.  This should leave the "right side" of each cookie facing out.  Wrap each sandwich with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 1 hour.

In a small bowl, mix the chocolate chips and canola oil.  Microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments until the chips are melted.  Use a fork to whisk out the lumps.

Cover a small cookie sheet with waxed paper.  Unwrap each sandwich and dip half of it into the melted  chocolate.  Set on waxed paper, and freeze the sheet for about 15 minutes or until the chocolate is hardened.

Wrap in plastic wrap again, and freeze at least an hour.  Ready to eat!  Serves 4.

NOTE:  If the sandwiches have been freezing for several hours, they may need to soften slightly before eating.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Stuffed Zucchini

Here is a timely, seasonal recipe from Food Network magazine: stuffed zucchini!  We had this last night with lemony couscous, chickpeas, and steamed carrots.  A lovely Mediterranean meal!
2 medium zucchini
salt, to taste
1/3 c. panko bread crumbs
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 c. mixed chopped fresh herbs (I used 3 T. fresh oregano and 1 T. fresh lemon balm.)
2 T. chopped walnuts
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 T. olive oil
freshly-ground pepper, to taste.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Split the zucchini lengthwise.  Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and make a cavity for the filling.  Season the zucchini shells with salt.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, tomato, herbs, walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon this filling into the zucchini shells and place in a baking dish sized to hold all 4 shells.
Bake 25 - 30 minutes, then serve warm.  Serves 4 as a side dish.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Indian Green Tomato Pakoras

These fritters are SERIOUSLY GOOD.  A big thank-you to Country Living magazine for the recipe!

1 c. chickpea flour (a.k.a. garbanzo bean flour)
1/2 c. rice flour
1 t. cumin seeds
1 t. chili powder
1 t. turmeric powder
1 lb. green tomatoes, chopped into matchsticks
3 shallots or 1 onion, thinly sliced
3 c. vegetable oil, for frying
In a large bowl, combine the chickpea flour, rice flour, cumin seeds, chili powder, turmeric powder, and 2 t. salt.  Stir with a fork to combine.  Add the tomatoes and shallots/onions to the mixture.  Divide the mixture into 16 patties, using your palm to gently flatten.
(NOTE:  I used green Roma tomatoes, and I had trouble getting the batter to hold together into patties.  I assume this is due to the fact that Romas have less juice and more meat.  I suggest using green slicers instead of Roma or paste tomatoes to make patties.  I made a few patties, but I ultimately just tossed in the coated vegetable pieces into the oil without forming patties.  It was still very good, mind you!  Just not what I expected.)
In a heavy 2-quart pot fitted with a deep-fry thermometer, heat the oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F.  Working in batches of 4, fry the fritters until golden, 3 - 4 minutes.  Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.  Serve hot.
The magazine provided this analysis per 2-fritter serving:  4g protein, 15g fat, 19g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 603mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol, 220 calories.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Vegan Breakfast Smoothie

Here's my new breakfast smoothie "formula", and it's perfect light fare for hot summer mornings:

1/3 can whole coconut milk (or use almond milk)
1 piece of fresh fruit (usually either a banana or a mango, peeled and de-pitted of course!)
1 T. aloe vera juice (optional)
frozen fruit, to taste (usually for me this will be either some type of berries or peaches)

Put the coconut milk (or almond milk), fresh fruit, and aloe vera juice (if using) in the jar of a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the frozen fruit, about 1/4 cup at a time, blending until smooth after each addition.

Pour the blended smoothie into a glass and drink up! (This also goes perfectly with a piece of toast if you want something solid with it.)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Potato Salad With Green Beans

I don't really like "creamy" or mayonaise-y potato salads.  But I love potatoes in pretty much any form, so I jumped at the chance to try this non-creamy potato salad published in a recent Food Network Magazine.  I changed it just a little, but not enough to make a wave.  AND I got to use lots of stuff from my own garden:  potatoes, garlic, oregano, and dried red pepper.  Woot!
2 lbs. new potatoes, scrubbed clean
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 to 1/3 c. sherry vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 c. plus 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil, separated
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. green beans, washed, trimmed, and cut into 1.5-inch pieces
1/2 c. pitted and slivered kalamata olives
4 large stems fresh oregano, leaves washed, dried with a paper towel, and chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
red pepper flakes, to taste
Put the potatoes and garlic in a pot and cover with well-salted water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain.  When the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still hot, carefully cut the potatoes into large bite-sized chunks (try not to pull off the skins) and transfer to a large bowl.  Finely chop the garlic and add it to the potatoes along with 2 T. each vinegar and olive oil.  Season generously with salt.  (NOTE:  It is important to do this while the potatoes are still warm so they absorb the vinegar and oil and are seasoned all the way through.)
Meanwhile, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet large enough to hold the green beans.  Add the onion, green beans, and salt, to taste.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the green beans are wilted and browning and the onions are transluscent.  Remove from heat.
Add the green beans, olives, oregano, scallions, and red pepper flakes to the bowl with the potatoes.  Stir to combine.  Taste and adjust the salt.  Add the remaining oil and vinegar, to taste.  Allow the salad to sit one hour at room temperature for the flavors to marry.  Serves 6 - 8.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Peach Pie

Aaaaahhhhh, summer.  It's the only time of year I don't flat-out require my desserts to be chocolate (although I certainly don't turn down a delicious vegan chocolate sorbet).  For Independence Day this year, I made a peach pie, and it was completely gone two days later.  The recipe is from the seminal cookbook Joy of Cooking.

For the crust, use the same crust recipe previously posed with the cherry pie recipe (here), right up to the point where you put the 2 discs of dough into the fridge to rest for 20 - 30 minutes.  For the peach pie:

3 lbs. peaches, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 - 3/4 c. sugar (depending on how sweet the peaches are)
3 T. cornstarch
3 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. almond extract
1/8 t. salt
2 T. vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance brand.), cut into small pieces
2 T. sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Mix the peach slicees, 1/2 - 3/4 c. sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, almond extract, and salt in a bowl.  Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, roll out one disc of pie dough to line a 9- or 10-inch pie plate.  Line the plate.  Pour the filling into the bottom crust, and dot the filling with the vegan margarine pieces.
Roll the other disc of pie dough into a circle large enough to cover the pie, and lay it over the filling.  Use your fingers to pinch the top and bottom crusts together.  Cut vents into the top crust, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 T. sugar.
Bake 55 - 65 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Cool completely on a rack.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tomato-Ginger Couscous (or Quinoa) with Chickpeas

I was very happy to find this simple main dish, because I was in the mood for something new and different.  It easily pairs with the lemony cauliflower, previously posted.
The recipe is courtesy of Food Network Magazine, although I added the chickpeas and the gluten-free quinoa variation.  The chickpeas are optional and can be omitted for a side dish of "just" couscous or quinoa.

2 tomatoes, cored
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. water
1 T. red wine vinegar
fresh ginger, 1-inch to 2-inch piece (I used a 1-inch piece, but the recipe called for a 2-inch piece.  That seemed kind of intense to me, but you can be the judge.), peeled
1 garlic clove, peeled
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. ground turmeric
2 T. olive oil
1 c. water (or 2 c. water if using quinoa)
1 c. couscous or quinoa  (if using quinoa, first rinse it under cool water.)
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (optional)
In a blender, purée the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 T. water, red wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, salt, and turmeric.
In a skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the purée and cook, stirring, until thickened to a paste (about 12 minutes).

If making COUSCOUS:  Add 1 c. water, and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat, stir in couscous, cover, and let sit 10 minutes.

If making QUINOA:  Add 2 c. water, and bring to a simmer.  Add quinoa, and stir.  Cover and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.

Fluff with a fork and toss with chickpeas, if using.  Season with additional salt, if desired, and serve warm.

Serves 3 - 5 as a main dish.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lemony Cauliflower Sauté

This is a good side dish for Middle Eastern food OR for Italian food.  It's one I made up, so it's nice and simple.  The photo shows it with green bell pepper, because that's what I had tonight, but I think red looks prettier.

1 T. olive oil
1 bell pepper, any color, deseeded and thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
12-oz. bag frozen cauliflower
2 scallions, chopped
juice of one lemon
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the sliced bell pepper, onion, and celery with salt and pepper, to taste.  Sauté 5 minutes, then add the frozen cauliflower and additional salt, to taste.  Sauté until the onions are translucent and the cauliflower is soft to bite and lightly browned.  Add the chopped scallions and sauté 1 - 2 minutes more, then add the lemon juice and toss to coat.  Serve warm.  Serves 2 -4 as a side dish.