Green Tacos

I needed to use up kale from my garden before it went to seed. And I was in the mood for tacos. So I decided to try this recipe for sweet potato and kale taco filling. The recipe calls for grated sweet potatoes. I was a little skeptical of this, but I was pleasantly surprised. The texture was great in the tacos. The recipe is super fast and easy and very tasty. I made it with this tempeh chorizo recipe and kidney beans. The combo was great. I’ll definitely make this again. In fact I already bought another sweet potato!

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/green-tacos

Tempeh Chorizo

I’ve really been enjoying tempeh recently. So I decided to try a tempeh chorizo recipe. The recipe uses chopped walnuts along with tempeh for a somewhat crunchy texture. I’m not sure that real chorizo is crunchy, but I enjoyed the texture in my tacos. I made this along with kidney beans and this veggie filling recipe. The combination was quite yummy. My only issue with this recipe was that it ended up somewhat sweet, which I didn’t like. I suspect cinnamon was the culprit. So I’ll leave it out next time. Also, I used tomato paste and a tsp of agave instead of ketchup since I don’t eat ketchup. I guess the agave was a mistake. Next time I’ll just use the tomato paste.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

In my second attempt to make my own desserts, I decided to try a no-bake cookie recipe. I started with this recipe but made a ton of changes. The result was pretty yummy. It makes about 40 cookies that are 100 calories each. Not a bad treat.

1 cup sugar

1/2 butter or vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

3/4 cup milk (I used 2% but I think any vegan milk would work fine)

4 1/2 cup oats

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups peanut butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Combine sugar, milk, and oats in a saucepan. Cook on medium-low, stirring constantly for 20 minutes
  2. Stir in cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, cooking for a couple more minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla extract
  4. Drop spoonfulls of batter onto baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

I have a robust sweet tooth. For years I’ve been purchasing my sweets. My go-tos were frozen yogurt bars and bittersweet chocolate, with the occasional pint of lactose free ice cream thrown in. But recently, I listened to a Science Vs. podcast episode on processed foods. The episode featured a scientist describing ultra-processed foods as Clorox for your gut, taking all the good bacteria with them as they went through. That image really stuck with me. I have a lot of issues with my gut. So I decided to start making my own desserts.

This recipe for “vegan chocolate pudding” was my first attempt. The recipe calls for Mexican spices, but since I had fruit in the chococate I was using, I left those spices out. I used 1/2 cup of sugar instead of the 3/4 cup called for and found that to be enough. But I like super dark bittersweet chocolate. The recipe is ridiculously simple, essentially just chocolate, sugar, and silken tofu. But oh my goodness the result. It wasn’t really a pudding, but rather an ultra thick, rich, chocolate mousse. The kind that you only need a bit of to feel satisfied. I think in order to make it more like a pudding, you’d need to add an extra 4 oz of silken tofu.

I honestly cannot believe how good this was. I particularly enjoyed dipping strawberries in it. And amazingly, it was so rich that I found I had fewer sweets cravings throughout the day when I ate a bit of this at night. So far my homemade desserts experiment is looking like a success.

Next time I’m going to use baking chocolate so that I can better control the sweetness level. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Leek, Kale, and Potato Latkes

My kale is starting to go to seed so I was looking for recipes to use it up. But most of the kale recipes I could find were for soups and hearty stews, and with the weather so hot I just couldn’t get in the mood for that. So I was intrigued when I found this recipe for latkes that uses both kale and leeks, two things I had in my garden.

The result was mixed. The first few I made would not hold together. The 1/4 cup flour just wasn’t enough to hold them. So I added an additional 1/3 cup, and that worked much better. The latkes weren’t amazing or anything. And mine were much less beautiful than the ones on the website (which was likely due to a combination of the fact that I didn’t deep fry and my less thin slicing of the veggies). But they were tasty enough and this was a good and unique way to use up late season kale. I think next time I’d add one additional potato.

Smoky Beet and Quinoa Burgers

I have been craving a good veggie burger lately. My favorite veggie burger place closed down during Covid and I haven’t been able to find anything good enough to replace it. So I decided to try myself. I had recently made way too much quinoa for another recipe, so I looked for recipes that included quinoa. I found this recipe and was intrigued by its inclusion of beets and smoky flavors. The recipe was straight-forward enough to make, but it required quite a bit of advance planning since you need to pre-cook a number of items and then refrigerate the mixture. It calls for barbecue sauce, which I don’t keep in the house, and didn’t feel like making a whole recipe or buying a whole bottle to use the two tbsp this recipe calls for. So instead, I looked at a few recipes and approximated using these proportions:

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp vinegar

3/4 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp mustard powder

I also added several tsp of salt to taste (maybe 3?), which were missing from the recipe.

The recipe made about 11 burgers. It said to bake them for 15 minutes, but I ended up baking closer to 40. Hard to say how much of that was my broken oven and how much was the recipe though. I basically just checked ever 15 minutes until they were somewhat dried out and seemed like they would hold together.

I really enjoyed the flavor of these burgers and would definitely try making these again. However, the texture was more mushy than I would have liked. I think I’d try replacing the 1 cup almond flour with 3/4 cup gluten flour 1/4 cup almond flour and adding a kneading step. All in all, not a bad first try at a yummy veggie burger full of healthy

1 recipe made 11 burgers.

Note: I realized that I missed the tsp of soy sauce in the recipe. So that’s likely why I needed to add the salt.

Sesame Slaw with Warm Garlicky Seitan

It’s official: seitan is my favorite vegetarian protein. I’m such a sucker for any recipe that includes seitan. With the weather warming up, I was looking for a cold salad recipe that looked filling. And this slaw recipe from page 58 of Isa Does It fit the bill. This was fairly quick and easy to make. True to the weeknight billing of Isa Does It. Isa has you pan fry the seitan, which makes the seitan a bit tough and pretty crisp. Overall, this was tasty, but not amazing. The edamame were a nice addition. I ate it all week happily, so it couldn’t be too bad. I’d make it again if I found myself wanting to make a quick filling Asian-inspired slaw or I had the ingredients.

Asparagus Frittata

A few weeks back I was getting ready to leave for a trip and needed to use up the asparagus from my garden before I left. I’d be doing a lot to get ready for the trip and didn’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking. Thus, I was intrigued by this quick recipe for an asparagus frittata that called for broiling instead of baking. Alas, in this case you get what you wait for. Speeding up the cooking process under the broiler technically worked, but the result was much less enjoyable than a baked version. The timing on this recipe was a big issue and in order to fully cook the center it was necessary to dry out the top. I can’t imagine cooking for the upper end provided (10 minutes). Even the 8 I used was dubious. It ended up not quite burned, but very dry. The recipe only called for 4 eggs so this was a pretty thin frittata as well, not my preference.

I’d say if you’re in a big pinch you can use the broiler to cook your frittata. But unless you’re in a mealtime crisis, use the regular oven method.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/asparagus-frittata-2774083

Rice Noodles with Eggs, Broccoli, and Dark Soy Sauce

Recently, one of my neighbors was giving away a bunch of vegetarian cookbooks. In the pile was Real Vegetarian Thai by Nancie McDermott, a cookbook I know my mother owns and likes.

The first recipe I tried was this rice noodle dish from page 164. Nancie describes the dish as easy to prepare and indeed it was. I could see myself making this on a weeknight when I want something comforting and indulgent as an alternative to ordering take out.

The recipe calls for a dark sweet soy sauce called si-yu but offers an alternative combo of regular soy sauce and brown sugar. I used this option since I didn’t have si-yu. But next time I go to the asian market I’ll be looking for si-yu so I can try making this again. The other change I made was reducing the oil. Nancie calls for 3 tbsp. I only used 4 tsp. Next time I think I’d try cutting it to 1 tbsp since the dish was still pretty high calorie.

I followed the timing of the dish carefully and the veggies came out crisp, just like I like them. The flavor of the dish was peppery and savory. And the eggs add a creamy aspect. Very yummy. Nancie calls for offering chili vinegar as a condiment, but I didn’t have any. So instead I used about a teaspoon of rice vinegar on each bowl, which added to the flavor. I’d like to pick up chili vinegar for the next time I make this.

Update: So far I’ve made this twice, once for myself and once for my sister’s family while in Germany. It was a hit both times. Easy, tasty, filling, and indulgent. A very good weeknight dish indeed. The only issue we had with the dish was the ratio of pasta to broccoli. Everyone, including my seven-year-old niece, agreed it needed more broccoli. Although I think I messed up the proportions when I made it for my sister’s family, so it probably was more that than the recipe. Still, I’d do 4 cups of broccoli instead of 3 and probably 7 ounces of pasta instead of 8 and see how that went. The other issue I had both times was volume. Flipping this recipe without a big wok is really hard. Next time I’m going to try making it in my cast iron dutch oven and see how that goes instead.

Borlotti Bean Mole with Roast Winter Squash

My sister posted this recipe on her blog. I’ve never actually made mole. Since this recipe just kind of creates the mole in the broth of the stew, it seemed like a good starter mole recipe. I used 85% chocolate instead of the 70% called for. I used two dried red chilies and two jalapenos and there was absolutely no spice in the final dish. It’s possible that somehow I ended up with jalapenos with no spice in them. Who knows. I also used double the kale called for.

The recipe calls for you to cook the dish in the oven for two hours. I did do this, but my sister says she didn’t and the dish tasted fine. So it might be an unnecessary step.

The final dish had a nice flavor, and I enjoyed eating it the first time. But I didn’t want to eat it the next day. It just wasn’t interesting or indulgent enough to hold my interest. I added 8 oz of cubed seitan, and I thought this really helped the dish. With the seitan it felt more indulgent and I enjoyed it for the rest of the week.