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!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Beet Risotto with Greens

This exquisite dish is from Deborah Madison's cookbook Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  Her description of the "jewel-toned" dish intrigued me, and I'm kind of a sucker for beets anyway, so I had to try it.  Scott, on the other hand, is a hard sell on beets, but even he liked this unusual and lovely dish.  The color is brilliant!

5.5 - 6.5 c. vegetable stock or bouillon
3 T. butter or a mixture of butter and olive oil (I always use vegan margarine in place of butter.)
1/2 c. finely diced onion
1.5 c. Arborio rice (It's important to use this type of rice, which gives risotto its creamy texture.)
1/2 c. dry white wine
2 T. chopped parsley
2 T. chopped basil or 1 T. dried basil
2 - 3 medium beets, peeled and grated, about 2 cups
2 - 3 c. greens (beet greens, chard, kale, spinach, or collards - stems removed, finely chopped)
salt and freshly ground pepper
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Have the stock simmering on the stove.  Heat the butter in a wide, deep pot, add the onion, and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the rice, stir to coat it well, and cook for 1 minute.  Add the wine and simmer until it's absorbed, then stir in half of the parsley and all of the basil, the grated beets, and the chard, kale, or collard greens (if using...if using beet greens or spinach, wait).  Add 2 c. stock, cover, and cook at a lively simmer until the stock is absorbed.  Begin adding the remaining stock in 1/2-cup increments, stirring constantly until each addition is absorbed before adding the next.  When there is 1 c. of stock left, add the beet greens or spinach, if using.  Taste for salt (I'm generous with this maligned seasoning.), season with pepper, then stir in the lemon zest and juice to taste.  Serve with the remaining parsley.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Broccoli Cornbread

This recipe is modified from a couple of recipes that appear in a cookbook my extended family put together for a family reunion.  I love this as a hearty snack or as an entrée served with a big pot of beans.  I think you'll love it, too.
Vegans could try substituting Ener-G's Egg Replacer.

1 stick vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance.)
2 c. yellow cornmeal, plus more for dusting the skillet
1 c. flour
1.5 T. baking powder
1.25 t. salt
2 T. sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1.5 c. rice milk, almond milk, or milk of your choice
1 medium onion, chopped
1 10-oz. bag frozen broccoli

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  During the preheat, melt the vegan margarine in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet in the oven.  (Cast iron is traditional for cornbread, people!)

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together with a fork.  Stir in the eggs and milk.  When well mixed, stir in the melted butter until well blended.  Stir in the chopped onion.  Finally, stir in the broccoli.

In the butter-coated skillet, sprinkle cornmeal to cover the bottom, then pour the batter over the cornmeal.  Bake until the cornbread is golden and the sides of the bread start pulling away from the skillet (45 - 60 minutes).  Serve huge, delicious chunks with a side of beans, if desired.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Grits with Spinach and Summer Tomatoes

Here's a non-traditional and delicious breakfast that makes use of all those wonderful summer tomatoes...a bowl of grits (prepared according to package directions) topped with chopped spinach (which the hot grits will wilt without any effort from you) and chopped summer tomatoes.  Outstanding!

Heck, this could also be a light lunch or dinner.  Have fun!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Braised Cabbage with Red Beans

This lovely recipe is another barely modified dish from Donna Klein's book The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen.  It's got a creamy, soft taste, and it's easy enough for a weeknight.  Serve with crusty bread for a complete meal.

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 - 3/4 head shredded green cabbage (enough for about 8 c.)
4 c. vegetable broth
1 c. arborio rice (It's important to use this specific variety of rice for this dish.)
salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
2 15-oz. cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

In a medium stockpot with a lid, heat the oil over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 10 minutes).
Add the cabbage and 1 c. broth, tossing to combine.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring a few times.  Add the remaining broth, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the rice, salt (I used 3/4 t.), and pepper.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and most of the broth has been absorbed (15 - 20 minutes).
Add the beans and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until heated through (about 5 minutes).  Serve warm.
Serves 4.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Red Beans and Rice

This refreshingly interesting but still vegetarian version of red beans and rice came from none other than Southern Living magazine, so you know it's tasty!  Serve the dish with a pot of greens, and you're good to go.

1 lb. dried red kidney beans
1 T. Creole seasoning
1 t. smoked paprika
1 vegetable boullion cube
salt, to taste
3 c. uncooked long-grain rice
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
garnish:  sliced green onions

Place the beans in a Dutch oven, add water to cover 2 inches above the beans.  Bring to a boil.  Boil 1 minute, cover, remove from heat, and soak 1 hour.  Drain.

Stir the Creole seasoning, smoked paprika, boullion cube, and beans into 7 c. water in a Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 - 1.5 hours or until the beans are tender.  Season with salt to taste.  (I usually use a scant tablespoon for a pound of beans.)

While the beans are cooking:
1.  Cook the rice according to package directions.
2. Saute the celery, bell peppers, onion, and garlic in the olive oil 6 - 8 minutes or until tender.

Stir the sauteed vegetables into the beans, and serve over the cooked rice.  Garnish with sliced green onions.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sugar Awareness

At the Today Tomorrow household, we've been trying to cut a lot of added sugar out of our diet this year.  Unbelievably, we found sugar in everything from peanut butter to spaghetti sauce to bread and even pickles.  These days when we eat sugar, it's "on purpose"...a conscious decision. 
Breakfast has been the biggest challenge, with lots of breakfast foods not just including sugar (muffins, for example), but many even featuring sugar (pancakes and waffles).  These days we just cover our pumpkin waffles (recipe here) or pancakes with fresh, in-season fruit.  It really works!  Add chopped walnuts to the batter, and you're all set.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Pasta with Cauliflower

This wonderfully different recipe is barely modified from Donna Klein's book The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen.  Great the first day, better the next.
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets then finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/8 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 14-oz. can petite-diced tomatoes with liquid
1/4 c. drained capers
1/2 c. vegetable broth or water, separated
2 T. tomato paste
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/8 t. turmeric
1/2 t. sweet paprika
1 lb. small tubular pasta (I used a small penne.)
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
1 c. panko bread crumbs
Add the oil to a deep-sided skillet with a lid, and heat over medium heat.  Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring, until the cauliflower is just softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and their juices, capers, 1/4 c. broth (or water), tomato paste, salt (I used 1 teaspoon.), and freshly ground pepper.  Bring to a brisk simmer over medium-high heat, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the turmeric, paprika, and remaining 1/4 c. broth (or water).  Increase the heat to medium, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the liquids are greatly reduced.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions.  Drain well, add to the cauliflower mixture, add the basil, and stir to combine.
Serve immediately, topped with bread crumbs.  Serves 6.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Vegetarian-Friendly Asheville, NC

Scott and I recently visited Asheville, NC, and I swear it has to be the most vegetarian-friendly city I've been to.
The highlight, really, was a restaurant called Plant where everything is vegan.  It's casually sophisticated, and the food is outrageously delicious.  We tried three of the available entrees:  black pepper tofu, fried wild oyster mushrooms, and lemongrass seitan.  They were all fantastic.  I am salivating just thinking about it, and we were so busy loving the perfect atmosphere, vegan food as it should be, and great company that no photos were taken.  Just trust me, and go there!
We also went many times to a super great healthy grocer called Earth Fare.  This store has healthy groceries, a selection of wines, yummy vegan chocolate truffles, a prepared food cafe with coffees and smoothies, heavenly-smelling soaps, and decent prices.  Recommended!
Other great vegetarian experiences:
Biscuit Head - Yummy fried green tomato on an enormous biscuit with a side of coconut-milk collard greens.
French Broad Chocolate Lounge - Check out the Buddha collection:  Vegan ice cream!  A huge selection of vegan chocolate truffles and candies!
Early Girl Eatery - Biscuits and gravy (vegetarian and vegan), tempeh, grits, vegan tofu scramble, and more.

On top of there being plenty of delicious vegetarian food, Asheville's just a pretty cool town anyway.  Lots of art, lots of local, lots of beautiful scenery.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Cherry and Peach Galette

This incredible dessert recipe came from Food Network Magazine.  Cherry season is short, and this is a delicious way to "spend" your cherries in that brief time.

2 T. vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance.)
2 sheets vegan frozen puff pastry, thawed (one 17-oz. or 18-oz. package)
3 T. AP flour, plus more for dusting
1 large egg (ovo-vegetarians) or 2 T. soymilk (vegans)
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. ground allspice
2 t. almond extract
1/2 t. finely grated lemon zest
2 t. fresh lemon juice
2.5 c. cherries (about 1 lb.), pitted and halved
2 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges

Position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.  "Butter" a baking sheet with 1 T. vegan margarine.

Unfold 1 sheet puff pastry on a floured surface.  Beat the egg or soymilk with 1 T. water and brush over the dough.  Unfold the other sheet of puff pastry and lay it on top; press the sheets together with a rolling pin, then roll out a 14-inch square.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.  (Refrigerate the leftover egg wash/soymilk wash for brushing the galette later.)

Combine the sugar, allspice, almond, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl.; transfer 2 T. of the mixture to a small bowl and set aside for sprinkling.  Add the cherries, peaches, and 3 T. flour to the remaining sugar mixture and toss.
Spoon the cherry mixture onto the pastry and spread, leaving a 2-inch border.  Cut the remaining 1 T. vegan margarine into small pieces and scatter on top.  Fold in the pastry edges over the filling, pleating as needed.

Bake the galette on the positioned rack until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.  Remove the galette from the oven, brush the crust with the reserved egg wash/soymilk wash, and sprinkle with the reserved sugar mixture.  Return the galette to the oven and bake until the juices thicken and the pastry is cooked through, 30 - 45 minutes more (depending on the juiciness of the cherries).  Transfer to a rack and cool at least 10 minutes before cutting to allow the filling time to set.

Serves 6.