Monday, July 31, 2006

Farmers Market

Farmers Market Fresh

Yesterday I made the greatest discovery ever. There has been a farmers market going on in walking distance from my house every Sunday since the beginning of June and it lasts untill October. Why didn't I ever know about this?! But anyway, it is an open air market with about 5 food stands and a few flower stands. The real find was the ORGANIC sign hanging above a generously stocked food stand which immediately caught my eye.

The food was a feast for the eyes and I came home with some really great fruits and veggies.
The top picture is lettuce wiht no brown spots to be found. The second picture is an English (seedless) cucumber. Under it are the juiciest, dribble-down-your-chin, peaches and nectarines I have ever tasted. The next is a picture of these odd puple podded green beans that supposedly change green when cooked, a Japanese zucchini, two regular squash, and the yellow round flat thing is a type of squash called pattypan squash. I also got some broccoli that was so good you can eat it raw, but I forgot to take a picture.

With the lettuce, zuchini, left over lentils, and some carrots, I made a farm fresh salad. Oh wow was it good!! The lettuce was so crisp and perfect I can not even describe the greatness. Okay so I love fresh food, what can I saw?

I have decided to go to the farmers market every sunday until it ends to stock up on weekly needed foods and try out strange new ones. It also feels great to support local farmers because that is where I would like to see America headed.

Be prepared to see future posts featuring amazing farm fresh foods. I think I want to try to grill that crazy looking squash. Hmm, so many options...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Cremini mushrooms

Cremini mushrooms, green peppers, and spinach over pasta

I think it's time to get some new plates to display my food on. I have used this plate/bowl thing a lot. This is a very simple idea of a recipe; pasta and veggies. It never fails for a simple fast dinner.

I boiled water and put the whole wheat pasta in. I cubed the green bell peppers and thinly sliced the cremini mushroms. Then I cooked the mushrooms and peppers in a cast iron pan and I added a splash of balsamic vinegar and a few sprinkles of basil and garlic powder.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Quinoa: the grain of the week

Grilled veggies over quinoa

I first heard of quinoa when I watched Super Size Me and Morgan Spurlock's girlfriend (who just so happens to be a vegan chef) fed him a dish containing quinoa for his "last supper". I highly recomend that movie to everyone. Quinoa contains 12 grams of protien for a 1/2 cup, making it a good choice for vegans.

I started out by boiling 2 cups of water to one cup of quinoa. I added the quinoa and let it cook until the water was gone (about 7 minutes).

The I grilled zuchini, eggplant, red and green peppers, and onion. I cut up all the veggies and added them to the quinoa and added a little bit of olive oil and slat and pepper.

Each individual plat was served over a bed of spinach.

Black bean burgers and brownies: revisited

My Computer died in a lightning storm and was finaly fixed! Now I am back with some old favorites.

You can find the post here.

I made brownies again and they came out perfectly moist and cakie. I don.t have pictures of them because they were gobbled up by greedy non-vegan friends and family.
After licking the brownie bowl clean, I came to a revolation: If these had not been vegan brownies, I would be eating raw eggs which could carry salmonella! Blah! Again, more proof vegans do it better. I mean come on, who wouldnt want to be able to eat large amounts of baked goods before they are cooked without dieing? I know I would.

Black Bean Burger: Part II
Original post here.

I made my trusty recipe again and they came out even better. I managed to find vegan buns so they were oh-so-tasty. The top burger is freshly made and the one below that is my next day lunch leftovers.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

¡Tortillas muy bueno!

Whole wheat tortillas from scratch

I was really in the mode for some tortillas but we did not have any pre-made kinds. I went online searching for a recipe and found a few good ones. I used the recipes to make my own recipe for crispy tortillas.

Crispy whole wheat tortillas

1/2 + 1/8 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. of salt
1/4 cup of warm water (120 degrees)

Mix dry ingredients well and add water. Gather into a ball and knead untill the ingredients are completly mixed (3 minutes). For perfect circles, roll out dough with a rolling pin and use a small bowl to cut out the shapes. Have an oiled pan ready (cast iron is best), and pan fry tortillas one at a time on medium high heat. Three minutes on each side is good. Add your favorite veggies and sides and enjoy! (Makes 4 small tortillas)

I added avocados, peppers, and salsa to my toritillas.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Light Monday night dinner

Spinach, shitake mushrooms, and tomatoes over whole wheat pasta

I have been eating black bean burgers for dinner three days straight (needless to say, they still taste amazing), but it was time for a change in menu. I was craving some sort of light pasta dish so I used the veggies I had on hand and made a simple dinner.

I cooked the veggies in the cast iron pan with some balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, and basil. Very simple, earthly flavor.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Burgers at last!

Black bean burgers

I have not had a burger since going vegan, and I was really in the mood to prove vegans can grill their own burgers and they can be tasty. This was my first test with making veggie burgers, so I was reluctant about puting them directly on the grill. Theses guys were not crumbly and they held their shape perfectly.

I found this recipe on Vegweb but I modified it a little. I used three galic gloves, a red pepper, and 1/2 a teaspoon of the spices. They were very spicy and next time I am going to do 1/4 teaspoon of the spices but if you like spice them be my guest and do the 1/2. I did not have coriander so I left it out. I did not have cashews and only had a little bit of sesame seeds so I ended up doing 3/4 cup of almonds and 1/4 cup of sesame seeds. I am betting any nut would work here, as long as they equal a cup of nuts. I also left the salt out because the beans were salty and I forgot the pepper. My version made four medium burgers. Wow were these yummy!

Here is my final recipe:

Kate’s Black Bean Burgers


  • 1 15.5 oz. can black beans
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
    1/4 cup grated red pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or 1/2 for very spicy burgers) each of dried red pepper, cumin and chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon each of oregano and basil
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until texture is course but blended well. You may need to add a little water so the texture is just moist enough to be able to blend in the food processor.
Separate into four balls and shape into patties. Make sure the patties are not too thin or they will fall apart. Grill for 5 minutes on each side, or until slightly browned. Enjoy with your burger fixings.

Serves: 4

*Side note: As if we didnt need any more proof vegans rocked. I grilled my veggie burgers and my parents grilled their icky cow grossness (we have designated sides of the grill so no cross contamination can occur). We ate outside and we wrapped our leftovers in foil. While we ate, flies kept landing on my parents plate and food and face and I was fly free. Then, I looked over to find literaly 20 flies sworming the foil with the beef and I looked at my wrapped veggie burgers to find not one fly! Praise God for good clean veggies, amen.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Grilled pizza: no cheese required

Grilled pizza with mushrooms, peppers, spinach, and extra tomatoes

Grilled pizza has become a staple in my summer dinners (and even sneaks its way into my winter dinners when I am feeling adventurous). For this pizza I decided not to use soy cheese because it tasted weird and there was no chance I was willing to risk the flavor of my favorite food.

I went very basic for the ingredients but the flavors were fantastic! I put a few fresh tomatoes in the broiler with basil and garlic powder to add to my pizza. The sauce I used was the amazing Don Pepino Pizza Sauce. Remember that these personal sized pizzas are about 8 inches in diameter (depending on your stretching skills and how thick you want your crust) so everyone can pick their toppings.

You can find my pizza recipe here.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cast iron pan to take over the kitchen

Tofu, spinach, and tomatoes with spicy white balsamic vinegar sauce

This recipe is an adaptation from similar dishes I featured. I have a whole bottle of chile oil left over from the mango summer rolls so I am trying to incorporate the oil into my basic recipes. I say, the werider the better!

I marinated the tofu in my spicy sauce while I cut my veggies. I pan fried the tofu until golden brown and added the tomotoes and waited until they cooked down in size. I added the spinach and the marinade for the final touch. (The glory of meatless dishes is being able to re-use your marinade for sauces or try adding cornstarch for a thicker version of your marinade)

The marinade/sauce was equal parts white balsamic vinegar and olive oil, a few drops of chile oil, basil, garlic powder, and toasted almonds.

I have no idea if chile oil was made to go with balsomic vinegar but oh well, it tasted good to me.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Vegans can eat muffins?!?!

Blueberry Muffins

I found this recipe on because I really wanted to find a good easy recipe to satisfy my skeptical friends; they loved them by the way. I made this recipe a few times so I could work out the kinks.

I decided to use whole wheat flour. The finely ground kind makes them taste more like real muffins and the regular kind makes them taste more earthy. I also used 1 cup of flour instead of the half cup because they were just not sweet enough for me. I wanted to experiment with other ingredients so I added dark chocolate covered coffee beans (my all time favorite treat ever!!) to one muffin before I added the blueberries to the batter. It was soooo good I have to make more and try other foods in this batter. I am thinking bananas, raspberries, strawberries, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or any combonation of those.

I fell in love with Vegan With a Vengeance

Fresh mango summer rolls (with Thai dipping sauce)

If you have never heard of Vegan With a Vengeance, you are missing out big time. I first heard about this cookbook from reading other peoples vegan food blogs so I had to see what all the fuss was about. Needless to say, I ended up post-it noting most of the recipes in the book after my first read. This was the first recipe I tried but definitely expect more soon.

These rice paper wrappers contain mango, cilantro, rice noodles (I used whole grain ones), roasted peanuts, and the recipe says to use bean sprouts or seedless cucumber and I went with the seedless cucumber for the crunch. The rolling and handling of the rice paper wrappers was a little tricky to get the hang of, but after some practice it was a snap. There is almost no cooking needed (besides cooking the noodles for 10 minutes). It is an amazingly refreshing main course or side dish with the perfectly spicy Thai dipping sauce.

(New lime green cutting board from Crate and Barrel)