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!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fried Green Tomato Biscuit Sandwiches

After bringing in all our green tomatoes last week to save them from the impending frost, I had this fantastic and fantastically Southern breakfast of fried green tomatoes (recipe here) and gravy (recipe here) on biscuit (recipe here) sandwiches.  Too delicious!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Hallowe'en!

Romeo would like to wish you all a very happy Hallowe'en!

His food lady's menu for tonight is sweet potato lasagna (recipe here), roasted Brussels sprouts (recipe here) for the Food Lady, steamed broccoli for the Litter Box Guy, rightly spiced cranberry beans, crusty loaf of bread, sparkling spiders (recipe here), and port.


 Ghost-y Romeo

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Another Beans and Greens

Here's a different combination of "beans and greens"...and there are many.  These two foods are just so healthy!

This one comes from Ellen Jaffe Jones's cookbook titled eat vegan on $4 a day (the title is in lowercase).

I've modified it a little, but the basic recipe is hers.  It's a great weeknight meal, because it's not a lot of trouble.  As she points out, if you have the rice cooked in advance, you can have dinner on the table in no time at all.

2 1/4 c. water, separated
1 c. brown rice
1 t. salt, separated
1 T. olive oil
couple of pinches crushed red pepper, or to taste (optional)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 t. ground cumin
1 10-oz. bag frozen broccoli florets
1 bunch collard greens, washed, stems removed, chopped
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 T. soy sauce (or tamari or shoyu)
1 scallion, chopped, for garnish (optional)

You'll need a 3-quart sauce pan with a lid and a large sauté pan with a lid.

In a 3-quart sauce pan, combine 2 c. water, rice, and 1/2 t. salt, and bring to a boil.  Stir once, cover, reduce heat, and cook 45 - 50 minutes or until rice is tender and all water is absorbed by the rice.  Fluff with a fork before serving.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the crushed red pepper (if using) and onion, and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and ground cumin, and sauté another minute.  Stir in the broccoli and the remaining 1/4 c. water.  Cover and cook until the broccoli is bright green, about 3 - 5 minutes.  Add the chopped collard greens, and cook, stirring frequently, until the greens are wilted and tender.  Stir in the beans and soy sauce and cook until heated through.  Remove from heat.

To serve, spoon rice onto each plate, top with beans and greens, and sprinkle with chopped scallion, if using.  (I served mine with rolls and sliced fresh tomatoes.)  Serves 4.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Parmesan Biscuits with Walnut Honey Butter

I'm sharing two seasonal recipes here...the biscuits are from Food Network magazine, and the butter is from Southern Living magazine - two of my favorite mags.  I served them with cranberry juice to amp up the seasonal feel.

Pumpkin-Parmesan Biscuits

2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 T. baking powder
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
2 T. finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 stick cold vegan margarine, diced, plus melted margarine for brushing (I like Earth Balance.)
1/2 c. canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/4 c. almond milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper OR ready a large cast-iron skillet.  (I like to bake biscuits in a cast-iron skillet.)

Using a fork, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Mix in 1 T. Parmesan.  Add the diced margarine and work it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  (You can also use a pastry blender, but I find I have better control using my fingers.)

Mix the pumpkin and almond milk in a small bowl, then pour over the flour mixture.  Mix with your hands or a fork to make a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat out into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle.  Cut out biscuits using a 2-inch round cutter or upturned glass.  (Resist the urge to rotate the cutter as you're cutting.  This seals the edges and can prevent proper rising.  Just press straight down.)  Arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet or in the cast-iron skillet.

Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted margarine and sprinkle with the remaining 1 T. Parmesan.

Bake until golden, 15 - 20 minutes.  Makes 16 biscuits.

Walnut-Honey Butter
1/4 c. finely chopped walnuts
1/2 c. (1 stick) vegan margarine, softened to room temperature
2 T. honey

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet or pan, and bake 5 - 7 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring halfway through.  Cool 15 minutes.

Stir together the walnuts, softened margarine, and honey.

Makes about 3/4 c.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Beans and Greens Enchiladas

Here's another great recipe from Crescent Dragonwagon's cookbook Passionate Vegetarian.  Maybe not a weeknight meal, but healthy and very good none-the-less!  In our enthusiasm for the evening's dinner, we neglected to photograph these, but hey, they're enchiladas!

1 T. canola oil
1/4 head savoy cabbage, coarsely shredded
10-oz. package of washed/ready-to-eat fresh spinach
15-oz. can refried beans
1 fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 t. chile powder
nonstick cooking spray
8-10 6-inch corn tortillas
16 oz. jar of your favorite salsa
grated cheese, completely optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large skillet that has a matching cover, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat and add the cabbage.  Sauté until it starts to wilt and brown slightly at the edges, 5 - 7 minutes.  Toss in the spinach, cover the skillet, and lower the heat.  Let steam until the spinach wilts, 1 - 2 minutes, then remove from heat.  Stir the refried beans, sliced jalapeno, and chile powder into the wilted greens.

Spray a 9-x-13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.  Move the baking dish near the stove, and have the cabbage-bean filling, corn tortillas, and a plate nearby.

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, and spray with cooking spray.  Place the first corn tortilla in the skillet, and fry a few seconds on each side, just enough to soften it.  Remove the tortilla from the skillet to the plate, and add another tortilla to the skillet.  While the second tortilla is frying, fill the first with cabbage-bean filling, roll, and place seam-side down in the baking dish.  Remove the second tortilla, put the third in the skillet, and repeat this process until all tortillas are filled.  Respray the skillet when necessary to oil subsequent tortillas.

When all tortillas are filled, rolled, and placed in the baking dish, cover the enchiladas with the salsa.  If desired, sprinkle cheese over the top.  Cover the baking dish with foil, then bake the enchiladas 15 minutes or until warmed through.  Serve immediately.  Makes 8 - 10 enchiladas.

Ideas for serving with the enchiladas:  Mexican slaw, Mexican rice, guacamole

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Orzo with Cannellini Beans and Vegetables

This recipe is from a useful weeknight cookbook called Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.  Most all of the recipes in this book are fast, easy, and vegetarian...necessary for today's busy cooks.

2 quarts water
3 T. olive oil, separated
1 large onion, chopped (about 1.5 c.)
2 - 3 carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 c.)
1 bell pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 c. orzo
1 6-inch zucchini
2 T. fresh basil, chopped (The recipe calls for a mixture of 1 T. mint, 1 t. dill, 1/2 t. marjoram.  I had basil on hand, so that's what I used.)
14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
15-oz. can cannellini beans (or other white beans)
14.5-oz. can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring the water to a boil in a large covered saucepan.

While the water heats, heat 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sauté the chopped onion and carrots in the hot oil.  In the meantime, seed and chop the bell pepper, and peel and mince the garlic.  Add the pepper and garlic to the onions and carrots and stir.

When the water boils, add the orzo and cook according to package directions.  When al dente, drain and stir in the remaining 1 T. olive oil.

With the orzo cooking, dice the zucchini and stir it into the skillet of vegetables.  Add the basil and artichoke hearts to the vegetables.  Gently stir in the beans and tomatoes.  Simmer for several minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the vegetables are hot, stir in the orzo, then season with salt and pepper.  If you final dish tastes bland, you probably need to add more salt.  I usually use around 1 t.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Roasted Vegetable Tacos

This is one I just threw together.  You could easily modify this...use smoked paprika instead of chipotles, stir in chopped fresh scallions instead of using onion, use refried beans instead of  black beans, add fresh jalapenos or minced garlic.  Use what you have on hand and what you like!

2 ears fresh corn, shucked and washed
1 lb. baby bell peppers, seeds and veins removed, sliced
1 onion, halved and sliced
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, seeded if desired, finely chopped
3 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt or to taste
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
non-stick spray
about 12 corn tortillas
shredded cheese, optional
1 lime, chopped into quarters
chopped lettuce

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a rimmed baking sheet, stand each ear of corn on its end, and cut the kernels away from the cob using a sharp knife.  Toss with the sliced bell peppers, onion, chipotles, olive oil, and salt until everything is coated.  Spread into an even layer, and roast in the preheated oven 20 - 30 minutes or until the vegetables are browning on the edges.  Remove from the oven and toss with the black beans while still hot.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.  Spray with non-stick spray, and add a corn tortilla to the skillet.  When lightly browned, flip, sprinkle with cheese (if using), and cook until the cheese (if using) is melted and the second side is browned.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Top each tortilla with the roasted vegetable mixture, a generous squeeze of lime, and chopped lettuce.

Serves about 4.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cauliflower Pizza

MANY moons ago, I posted an unconventional recipe for cauliflower pizza, but alas with no photo.  Here is a photo from a recent dinner, and HERE is the recipe.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ricotta-Stuffed Sweet Peppers

This delicious entree is slightly healthier (if you can consider something where cheese is the main ingredient healthy!) than stuffed shells and is just as much of a hit.  Feel free to play around with what you add to the ricotta custard to create your own variations of this easy dish.

1 15oz. - 16oz. container organic ricotta cheese (I like Organic Valley brand.)
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 t. salt, or to taste
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, chopped
1 26-oz. jar of your favorite marinara sauce
1 lb. baby sweet peppers, halved lengthwise, seeds and veins removed
bread crumbs, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix the ricotta, egg, salt, pepper, garlic, and scallion in a 1-quart bowl.

Pour the marinara into the bottom of a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish and shake the dish to spread evenly.  Using a small spoon, fill each pepper half with the ricotta custard, and lay filled side up in the tomato sauce.  (I had a few pepper halves left over, so I chopped them and scattered them over the filled peppers.)  Sprinkle the bread crumbs, if using, over the peppers.

Bake, uncovered, 30 - 45 minutes until pepper edges are browning and the watery cheese runoff has evaporated.  Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 - 5 as an entree.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mediterranean Lentil Salad

Here's another easy, healthy, and filling dish from the cookbook Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home by the Moosewood Collective.  Make this in advance, and you have an easy lunch to take to work that won't require you to stand in line for the microwave.

salad -
1 c. brown or green lentils (I like using the tiny black French lentils.)
4 c. water
2 bay leaves
1 t. fresh thyme or 1/2 t. dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 c. sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), chopped
boiling water
1/2 c. diced celery
1/2 c. diced yellow bell pepper
1/4 c. minced red onion

dressing -
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 T. red wine vinegar
salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Rinse the lentils.  In a medium saucepan, bring the lentils, water, bay leaves, thyme, and garlic to a boil.  Reduce the heat, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the lentils simmer, cover the sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water in a heatproof bowl, soak for 2 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened but remain slightly chewy, and then drain.  Combine the tomatoes, celery, bell pepper, and onion in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together.  (Alternatively, shake them together in a jar.)

Drain the lentils and discard the bay leaves.  Remove the garlic, mash it with a fork, and mix it back into the lentils.  Toss the lentils with the vegetables and dressing, and adjust the seasonings if necessary.  Serve immediately or chill to serve later.  Serves 4.

Serving Notes:  We served this with washed baby lettuces, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, and crackers for a refreshing, light meal.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fresh Tomato with Olive Oil Toasts

From the "not a fan of regular breakfast food" category comes this non-traditional breakfast that I've been enjoying this summer using Roma tomatoes fresh from my garden.  Of course, it would be a perfectly legitimate snack, too.

olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
crusty European-style bread, sliced 3/4-inch thick
Roma tomatoes, chopped and salted to taste

In a medium-sized non-stick skillet, heat enough olive oil to coat one side of each slice of bread over medium heat.  Grind pepper into the olive oil, to taste.  Put the bread slices face down into the olive oil, swirl to coat, and cook until toasted.  Remove from heat.

Serve toasts olive-oil-side-up topped with the salted, chopped Roma tomatoes.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Summer Vegetable Tian

This recipe from The Commercial Appeal is by Carol Borchardt, a personal chef.  I almost always appreciate Ms. Borchardt's recipes published in our paper.

2 T. olive oil, plus more to coat baking dish
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 t. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 t. dried thyme), divided
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 c. grated cheese, divided (optional)
3 small Yukon gold or other potatoes (about 1/4 lb.), unpeeled
2 small zucchini (about 6 inches long)
3 Roma tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush a 9-x-9-inch baking dish with olive oil.

In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and cook 8-10 minutes or until transluscent but not browned.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.  Add half the thyme and salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to the prepared baking dish and allow to cool while preparing the other vegetables.  Sprinkle with cheese, if using.

Slice the potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices.  Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly, making one layer.  If any vegetables slices are left over, tuck them in anywhere to use every last one.  Sprinkles with salt, pepper, and the remaining thyme.  Drizzle with the remaining olive oil.  Cover the dish with foil, and bake 40 - 45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Uncover, sprinkles the remaining cheese on top (if using), and bake for another 10 - 12 minutes or until browned.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 2 - 3 if used as a main dish.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tempeh Breakfast Sandwich

I am not really a huge fan of traditional breakfast fare.  Too starchy, meaty, eggy, or sweet, in general, for my tastes.  Don't get me wrong, I love homemade biscuits (I'm from the Southern U.S., so I have them nearly every weekend.  Recipe here.), and I definitely want pancakes or waffles every once in a while, but usually I'm looking for something off the beaten path.

One of my new favorites is this breakfast sandwich, which I guess you could really eat at any meal.  It's filling and tasty!  Fry up the whole package of tempeh, and you'll have sandwich fixin's for the week.

canola oil
soy sauce
smoked paprika
tempeh (I love the Lightlife "Garden Veggie" variety.), cut into 1/4-inch strips
avocado slices
roasted red peppers (from a jar or from your grocer's olive bar)

In a non-stick skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat.  Add soy sauce and smoked paprika to taste, then add the strips of tempeh.  Fry the tempeh until browned on the bottom, then flip and fry the other side until browned as well.  Remove from pain and drain on paper towels.
NOTE:  I usually fry up a whole 8-oz. package of tempeh at a time, which takes about 3 T. canola oil and maybe 1/2 t. of soy sauce and a heaping 1/4 t. smoked paprika.  I'm guessing, but the amounts are flexible.

Toast both halves of the bagel in a toaster.  Sandwich tempeh strips with avocado slices and roasted red pepper, and enjoy.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Southwestern Succotash with Barley

Years ago my good friend, Elaine, gave me a cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon called Passionate Vegetarian, and I'm just getting around to exploring the recipes in this book.

This one is a great vegan main dish, perfect for impending autumn weather, and I believe it would lend itself well to experimentation.  Maybe chipotles or smoked paprika in the mix?  And this dish is easy enough for a weeknight meal.

1/8 t. salt, plus more to taste
3/4 c. pearled barley
1 T. canola or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1.5 t. cumin seeds
large pinch cayenne pepper
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can green chiles
1 10-oz. package frozen lima beans
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 c. frozen corn kernels
3 T. (fresh) or 1.5 t. (dried) parsley, minced if using fresh
3 T. (fresh) or 1.5 t. (dried) cilantro, minced if using fresh

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 7/8 c. water and 1/8 t. salt to a boil.  Add the pearled barley, reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes until the grains are tender but still chewy.

Meanwhile, heat the canola or olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cumin seeds, and sauté until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the cayenne pepper, butternut squash, garlic, green chiles, lima beans, freshly ground pepper to taste, and salt to taste.  (I used about 1 t. salt.  If you final product tastes dull, you probably just need to add salt.)

Raise the heat on the lima bean mixture to high, heat everything through, then lower back to medium heat.  Cover, and let the vegetables steam until the squash and limas are fairly tender, about 10 - 12 minutes.  Add the corn, and cook for 5 minutes more.

Stir the herbs and cooked barley into the succotash, and serve hot for a warming one-dish meal.  Serves 4.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Romeo and his food lady would like to wish you all a very Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Scott and I are celebrating the holiday by listening to Irish bands and artists (Thin Lizzy, U2, and Donovan), cooking bubble and squeak, eating Irish potato cake that Scott made yesterday for the occasion (recipe here), and drinking snakebites.  How are you celebrating?

Friday, February 28, 2014

Barley and Sprouts Salad

This amazing salad came from Food Network magazine, and it's equally delicious served warm or cold.  I served it warm with dinner, then ate leftovers cold for a snack at work the next day.  I'm nuts for Brussels sprouts anyway, and I was happy to find an interesting way to incorporate barely into my diet.  I'm always looking to make friends with new, healthy vegetarian foods!

2 c. vegetable broth
1 c. barley
1/2 t. salt, separated
2 t. olive oil
12 oz. Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced (about 3 c.)
grated lemon zest of one lemon

Bring the vegetable broth and 1/4 c. water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Stir in the barley and 1/4 t. salt.  Cover and cook over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed.  (Check the barley package for times.)

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil  in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the Brussels sprouts, lemon zest, and 1/4 t. salt to the skillet.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are the texture you like them.  (The recipe calls for "crisp-tender", but I like mine kind of soft so I cooked them longer.)

Toss the cooked barley with the cooked Brussels sprouts, and serve warm, room temperature, or even cold.  Serves 4 as a side dish.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Apricot Oatmeal Muffins

I found this healthy recipe online at the Betty Crocker website while looking for something to do with the dried apricots I'd bought as a snack for Scott.  He didn't like them as much as the dried mangoes we had previously.  But after I chopped them up in muffins, everyone likes them!

3/4 c. AP flour
1/2 c. plus 1 T. old-fashioned oats, separated
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 egg (Vegans can use Ener-G's Egg Replacer product.)
1/2 c. packed brown sugar (I love brown sugar!)
1/3 c. almond milk
3 T. canola oil
1/2 t. almond extract
1/3 c. finely chopped dried apricots

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease only the bottoms of SIX regular-sized muffin cups OR line them with paper baking cups.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, 1/2 c. oats, baking powder, and salt.  In a small bowl, beat the egg (or replacer).  Mix the brown sugar, almond milk, canola oil, and almond extract together with the egg (or replacer).  Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until the flour is just moistened.  Fold in the apricots.

Divide the muffin mixture evenly between the SIX muffin cups.  Sprinkle each with 1/2 t. oats.

Bake 23 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.  Remove from pan to cooling rack.  Serve warm.  Makes six healthy muffins.