A Second Round of Tso

When I last went to the Asian Market with M, decided the time was ripe to get some dried bean curd skin, what The Vegan Ronin says will make the best Tso's Tofu in the whole world.  I figured there was nothing to lose, and the picture was so pretty on her blog!  And, since last night I found myself lacking in other things to make, I decided to give it a go.  I took the Vegan Ronin's recipe and modified it a bit to cut back on oil and make it a propper thing to serve over rice as a meal, and traveled down to the kitchen.  It was surprisingly easy to make, and took me just over 30 minutes.  The bean curd skin sure was funny, though.  But, OH MY GOSH, it turned out so good.   I loved the sauce, and it got all nice and thick.  M said it tasted kind of like sweet and sour sauce, and I thought it was up to par with some of the best Asian restaurants that I have visited.  Everything went together just beautifully, and both M and I fell over because it was so outstanding. (We were sitting in chairs, but you get what I mean.)

So, yes,  I highly recommend giving this quick one a whirl, and you won't be disappointed.

General Tso’s Tofu

Serves 4

Inspired by The Vegan Ronin

1/2 package dried bean curd skin (75 grams) (the ones in knots)
1 tsp oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tbsp agave nectar
2 tablespoons mirin
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chili paste
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 ½ large carrots
2 cups broccoli
1 red bell pepper
2 baby bok choy
1 large onion

1. Soak bean curd in water for 10-15 minutes, until soft.
2. Mix soy sauce through corn starch together.
3. Fry bean curd in oil for 10 minutes, until browned. Remove from heat
4. Saute veggies, add tofu, and heat through. Serve over steamed brown rice.


Two New Toys (aka foods)

As I was mulling over what to make in my next round of cooking, I stumbled upon a recipe authored by Fat Free Vegan called Pink Bean, Quinoa, and Spinach Soup.  A few days before, I had come home from a grocery trip with M toting along two new ingredients: raspberry vinegar, which I used in this salad and dressing, and pink beans.  Just my luck finding this soup recipe, because I had also been wanting a quinoa dish.  Two birds with one stone.
The beans that I bought were kind of weird, though, because, after only a day of soaking they started sprouting... oh well.  They still tasted fine, although, as M pointed out as we were happily eating our soup, most beans taste pretty similar.  Pink beans, I was happy to see, are very high in protein and fiber.  Yay!
One thing I really love about this soup is the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg, which really give it a sweet flavour, and make it smell excellent.  It really makes a lot, and is quite thick, but not too much so for a summer's day.

I also found that we were out of salad dressing, so I created a new one.  I won't post the recipe, seeing as I really have no clue of how much of everything I used, but it consisted of about a cup of mayo, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, a splash of balsamic vinegar, italian seasonings, and a whole bunch of basil.  It turned out quite good, and M declared it a winner, so I was pleased.  Although it is not the prettiest dressing around.

Pink Bean, Quinoa, and Spinach Soup

6 servings

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan

1 large onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
6 cups water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
14 oz crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons curry powder
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked for 15-20 minutes in 1 cup water
½ cup dried pink beans, soaked and cooked
1 bunch spinach, stemmed and washed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat a large soup kettle sprayed with nonstick spray over high. Saute the onion until tender, then add the carrot and garlic, and sauté for 2-3 more minutes.
2. Add water, bouillon cubes, tomatoes, beans, and spices. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Add the spinach and quinoa and cover. Cook until the spinach is wilted, stirring. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve.


Soba Noodle Love

What's weird is, I don't like American pasta.  But I am obsessed with Asian noodles; I think they are one of the most marvelous things a person can eat.  I have been really wanting to try soba noodles for quite some time now, but have never gotten around to doing so.  Anyway, as I was browsing around on 101 Vegetarian Cookbooks, I saw a soba noodle recipe called Otsu.  It looked amazing, and I knew this would be the time I was making soba.  So, there's not much else to say.  I modified the recipe slightly, adding more veggies because that's what I love to eat.  And, poof!  Today I finally made the noodle salad.  It tastes so light and fresh, and leaves you satisfied.  I bet it would taste good at any tempurature, although M and I had it at room-temp. 

Oh, funny thing happened when I dumped the noodles into the pot.  The noodles came wrapped in little bundles with strips of paper.  Appearently, I dropped one of the pieces of paper in the water with the noodles to cook.  When I went to drain them, I saw that there was an intruder in the noodles... it scared me, as it looked like a bug or something.  But it was just the wrapper.


Adapted from 101 Vegetarian Cookbooks

6 servings

• Grated zest of 1 lemon
• 1 tbsp grated ginger
• 1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
• 1 pinch cayenne pepper
• 3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1/4 cup rice vinegar
• 1/4 cup soy sauce

• 6 ounces dried soba noodles, cooked and rinsed under cold water
• 12 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed and chopped
• 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
• 3-4 green onions, chopped into ½ inch pieces
• 1 carrot, cut into strips
• 2 cups cabbage, shredded
• 3 pieces Chinese broccoli, stems and leaves separated (about 1 cup stems and 6 cups leaves), stems cut into thin strips
• Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
• 1/2 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
• 1/2 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds

Make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, agave nectar, cayenne, salt, lemon juice, vinegar, and soy sauce in a bowl.
Spray one side of the tofu with nonstick spray, and cook in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until the pieces are slightly browned and firmer. In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, cilantro, green onions, carrot, cabbage, broccoli, and dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and sesame seeds and toss again gently. Garnish with cilantro.

A Fantabulous and Versitile Tofu Scramble

I was slightly afraid of trying this dish because of my last disasterous attempt to turn tofu into eggs.  That time, I had tried to make an omlette with silken tofu, and, appearently M and I really don't like silken tofu.  But, I decided to give it one more go, this time using a modified version of Vegan Dad's Basic Scrambled Tofu.  The reviews said it was fairly kid friendly, and it sounded good enough.  I was not disappointed this time- absolutely marvelous, and very healthy and filling!  What surprised me, though, was how similar the tofu looked to eggs.... kind of scary.  The taste was not really incredibly like eggs, but that's why I made tofu and not eggs.  Anyway, I'm sure you probably have a tofu scramble recipe already, but, if not, this one is certainly worth the little effort it takes to whip up.

In this version, I included snow peas, Chinese broccoli, and shiitake mushrooms.  I am sure that almost every veggie would work great in this recipe, so chuck everything imaginable in there!

Basic Scrambled Tofu

• 12 oz package firm tofu, pressed and crumbled
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1/2 tsp tumeric
• 1/4 tsp salt
• Pepper, to taste
• Tabasco sauce, to taste
1. Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook tofu for 3-4 minutes, until tofu begins releasing its water.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients along with any longer cooking veggies. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring. Add the rest of your veggies when you deem it the right time. If things begin to stick, add a little water. Once the 10 minutes are up and all water is gone, it’s done.


Yet Another Pizza

This is a very simple, all-veggie pizza.  How you ask?  With one of those lovely portobello mushrooms playing as the crust!  I love portobellos- they are so meaty, and make a great holder for... stuff.  Like pizza sauce.  I used up the last of the leftover sauce from this recipe to top off mine and M's portobellos, along with some sauted spinach and, of course, pepperoni!  Baked in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes, and they turned out marvelous.  So simple, and you could pretty much use any combination of vegetable that you want.

Just make sure to have nicely sized, meaty mushrooms...


Saag Tofu and Baked Spring Rolls

Tonight I did something that I have never done before: I made dinner at one of my friend's houses for her family.  It was interesting, to say the least!  Three hours striaght of working in the kitchen... which was alright, but I got just a bit tired, as I know my friend did too!  She actually abandoned me several times, but she doesn't have a passion for cooking like me, so I guess that's ok.
Anyway, the food turned out to be amazing!  We made Easy Baked Spring Rolls from Fat Free Vegan's blog, only we used purple in place of napa cabbage out of personal preference.  They came to the exactly right crispyness, the filling was just perfect, and my friend's little sis' even enjoyed them, and she's rather picky.  Quite tasty, and easy, like the recipe says.  And I have found that they only need to be baked once for about 10 minutes, and not flipped, especially if you don't get the rolls soaking wet.  One thing to note though- the rolls might be really stubborn, and stik together.  All I can say is good luck.
We also created an adaptation of Saag Tofu from Eating Well.  Personally, I absolutely  L-O-V-E this dish, but it really seems that some do and some don't.  But I have yet to see a person who won't eat it, and you could always reduce the amout of onions, because there are quite a few. 
I though the Saag turned out quite photogenic, but not so much for the Spring Rolls.  I think I could have done a better job with them, but... taste matter more right?

One more thing to add about the Saag.  The original recipe calls for spinach as the only green veggie, but in this recipe I added cabbage and bok choy.  I have also used swiss chard, and you could get away with pretty much any similar leafy green.

Saag Tofu

Serves 4

• 1 teaspoon canola oil
• 1 12 ounces firm tofu, pressed and cut into ½ inch cubes
• 6 oz fat free vanilla yogurt
• 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
• 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 large onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 teaspoon grated ginger
• 2 ½ cups red cabbage
• 1/2 pound spinach, washed and de-stemmed
• 3 baby bok choy

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick wok over high heat. Fry tofu for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until nicely browned. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, mix together the yogurt, curry, mustard, and cumin.
3. Saute onion, garlic, ginger until the onion begins to get translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add cabbage, continue cooking until onions are almost done to your liking. Add in the spinach, tofu and bok choy, and cook until the spinach is wilted and all veggies are tender and
4. Remove from heat and stir in the yogurt.


Summer's Special Salad Dressing

M and I finally made it through the Asian Dressing, and we needed a new one to cover our lovely salads in.  M had requested a raspberry dressing, and that was what I was going to make.  It turned out surprisingly good, and a nice rosy colour.

The dressing ended up being a lot creamier than I had originally planned, but, hey, it still tasted great, and was quite easy to whip up.  My masher did quite a fine job with the raspberries, and no blender was needed.

Today M and I also took a trip to a new grocery store that someone we know works at.  It was a Mexican store, but they really carried all sorts of things- such as raspberry vinegar!  Perfect addition to the dressing!!  We also got some dried pink beans... you will probably be seeing those very soon.

Summer's Raspberry Dressing

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup fat free mayo
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp raspberry vinegar
  • Onion powder, to taste
Mash the raspberries to a sauce with a potato masher or some such thing, add other ingredients, and stir well.  Refrigerate until needed.


Four Kinds of Mushrooms and Really Good Rice

Tonight I was determined to make this stir fry.  It had been on the waiting list for quite a while, and the bean sprouts I had needed to be used up.  Not to mention that the Chinese Chives in my garden were looking absolutely marvelous!

I got the idea for an all-mushroom stir fry a while back, when I created Tso's Tofu.  And so, the idea was simmering in the back of my mind for a few weeks.  After I discovered my love of Five Spice Powder, I knew I could come up with some cutely-named dish.  And thus, Four Mushroom Stirfry with Five Spice Sauce was born, bouncing off of SheSimmer's Simple Wild Mushroom Stir-Fry with Brown Sauce

You know, whenever you get a stir fry at an Asian restaurant, there is sometimes a really, really pretty puddle of sauce at the bottom.  I have always though that would be nice to have, and, tada! this dish had it.  You can only imagine how utterly happy that made me!

Just a note on mushrooms- I love where I live, because we have an Asian World Market just 15 minutes from our house, and can get there atleast every other week.  And one of the best things about that is they always have cheap veggies- especially mushrooms.  .75 lbs of either shiitakes or oysters cost just under 3 dollars.  It's great!  And they are really good quality, too.  I just can't get enough mushrooms, especially the really exotic ones, and this is such a great, constant, cheap supply of them.

And lastly, the rice.  Last time M and I got to the Asian Market, we picked up this huge five pound bag of rice.  I actually got around  to breaking it open last night... again, a great cause of excitement for me.  Boy, sometimes I really think I need to get a life. 
Anyway, I was looking up ways to make steamed rice, because the way M and I cook ours makes it turn out really mushy.  Not bad, just not really Asian-good either.  So I found a very useful site, and tried it out.  The rice was just slightly underdone, but it turned out so amazing and, well, steamed. 

Four Mushroom Stir Fry with Five Spice Sauce
Adapted from She Simmers
4 servings

• 1 can straw mushrooms
• .75 lb king oyster mushrooms (ish)
• .75 lb shiitake mushrooms (ish)
• .75 lb oyster mushrooms (ish)
• 1 cup bean sprouts
• 1/4 cup Chinese chives

• 1 tbsp vegetarian stir fry sauce
• 3 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
• 2 tbsp mirin
• ½ tbsp corn starch
• 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
• ¾ cup water (ish)
• ½ tbsp five spice powder

1. Mix all the sauce ingredients together except the water.
2. Heat about ¼ cup water in a wok on medium-high heat and add king oyster and shiitake mushrooms. Continue cooking for two minutes, and add straw mushrooms, then after a couple seconds add oyster. When mushrooms are softened, add bean sprouts, chives, and sauce.
3. Add water as needed to keep the sauce saucy.
4. Continue cooking until heated through.

Really Good, Unmushy Steamed Brown Rice
(AKA absorbtion method)

From Shiok

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 ½ cups water
1. Rinse the rice really well in a strainer.
2. Allow the rice to sit in fresh water for 30 minutes.
3. Drain of water
4. Put the rice in a heavy, good quality pan with a tight-fitting lid (like a dutch oven). Add the 1.5 cups of water. Salt the rice, if desired.
5. Turn on the heat to medium high, and allow the water to come to a boil. Turn the heat down as low as possible, cover, and let sit for 25 minutes.
6. Turn off the heat, and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.  Drain of water.


Pepperoni, Pizza, and Tofu

Yup- lots of recipes today.  But none of them were very labour-intensive, so it sounds a lot more impressive than it really is. 

The pepperoni came from Vegan Dad, a most excellent website.  This is actually his second seitan recipe that I have made, and they have both turned out to be delicious and very realastic.  I was especially pleased with how the pepperoni looked- it almost cute, coming out of it's foil wrapper in a long cylandrical shape...  and the texture was very meaty.  The spices also resemble what pepperoni tastes like. 
I was originally wanting to make sausage, but then M requested pepperoni, so that's how I ended up making this!  And it went great on the potato pizzas that I made from Fat Free Vegan. 
The potatoes hit just the spot today, too; I can never seem to get enough of a baked potato, even if it is a sweltering hunderd degrees outside, and I am still overheated as I type this.  Summer's here for the next three months... and it's HOT.  Ah well.  Anyway, back to the potatoes.  Loaded with vegetable goodness!
And finally, the Mapo Dofu.  This one I adapted from Vegan Ronin.  It looked nothing like what she had posted, but still tasted great all the same.  I have never actually heard of this "mapo dofu", but the picture was just so tantilizing!  And it turned out to be just the thing, too.  I added some snap peas, even though you don't typically find that, because I seemed to be craving those at the moment I made the recipe...  And it turned out to be quite heavy on the onions, but that's OK, because who doesn't love a whole bunch of onions?


Adapted from VeganDad
8 servings


• 1/2 cup of white or red kidney beans, mashed well
• 1 tsp liquid smoke
• 1 tsp BBQ sauce
• 1 tbsp paprika
• 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1 tsp five spice powder
• 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten

1. Mix together everything except the gluten.  Add the gluten, and continue mixing until it becomes a dough-like substance.
2. Divide dough into four equal portions. Roll each portion into a log and wrap tightly in foil, tootsie roll style.
4. Steam for 45 mins. Cool and slice.

Mapo Dofu

Adapted from The Vegan Ronin

4 servings


• 12 oz tofu, pressed and cut into 1 cm cubes
• 1/2 C burger crumbles
• 1 tsp peanut oil
• 2 tbsp broth
• 1 tsp chili garlic sauce, or to taste
• 1 tsp chili powder, or to taste
• 1 onion, sliced thick
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 2 Tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1 tsp cornstarch
• 1/4 cup water
• ¾ lb snap peas
• 4 green onions, chopped, for garnish

1. Heat oil on medium heat in a wok and add tofu, cooking until lightly browned on all sides (about 10-15 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, mix together the chili garlic sauce, chili powder, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and water.  Set aside.
3. Stir fry onions, peas, and garlic in broth until the onions have become slightly tender.
4. Add crumbles and sauce, and heat through..
5. Add tofu, and continue cooking until all veggies are tender and everything is hot, hot, hot!
6. Garnish with green onions.

Potato Pizzas

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan
2 servings

• 1 large baking potato, or two really small ones
• Pizza toppings

Sauce (you will have extra, but it tastes really good)
• 1/2 large onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
• ½  28 oz can crushed tomatoes
• 1/2 tsp. oregano
• 1 tsp. basil
• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bake the potato(es) in the microwave.
Pizza sauce: Sauté the onion in a non-stick saucepan until it becomes translucent. Add the garlic and sauté one minute more. Mix with remaining ingredients, and keep hot.

When the potato(es) is/are done, cut in half spread each face with sauce, and load with toppings. Put them into the oven and bake for 15-20 more minutes at 350 if you are feeling ambitious, or just eat as is.


Tofu and Cabbage- A Grand Combo

So, today, I created a much healthier version of 101 Cookbooks' Yin and Yang Salad with Peanut-Sesame Dressing.  I say much healthier, and, indeed, I changed the dressing so much that it was not really "peanut-sesame" any longer.  But that by no means whatsoever leads to this salad tasting anything but spectacular!  It was very gingery, and, as M put it, had a lot going on.  So many different textures, and such a bounty of flavours. 

This was my first time trying diakon radish, to my knowledge, also.  Peeling the thing reminded me of jicama, mostly because of the colour.  It doesn't really taste like anything, though, atleast from what I could tell.  That's another one to keep trying in different dishes (ahem, stirfrys).

Just a warning, though- when you make this salad, make sure to use a really really really REALLY big bowl.  I ended up using the biggest container we had, which is saying something.  And there was a small crisis because the fridge was so full that I think I spent a good five minutes getting everything to fit in there.  But, nonetheless, it was all worth it.  (The tofu is spectacular- just marinade it for the full time.  Also, feel free to let the salad sit with the dressing on it, the crunchyness is not tarnished in the least).

Yin and Yang Salad

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Makes 6 large servings

• 4 cups shredded green cabbage
• 3 cups shredded red cabbage
• 2 ½ inch piece daikon radish, peeled and junienned
• 10 green onions, chopped into ½ inch pieces
• 2 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch strips
• 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (I used one black, one white)

• ½ cup fat free mayo
• 1/3 cup rice vinegar
• 2 tbsp lite maple syrup
• ¼ cup water
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
• 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

• 16 oz extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into ½ inch cubes
• 1/3 cup soy sauce
• 1 tbsp minced garlic
• ¼ cup rice vinegar
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Salad: Toss the cabbage, carrots, radish, and onions in a large bowl with the dressing. Add the tofu, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Stir.

Dressing: Blend all the ingredients until smooth.

Tofu: Whisk together all ingredients except tofu, and pour over the tofu. Cover and refrigerate for atleast 4 hours. Preheat the oven to 380 on convection. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray and lay the tofu, without the marinade, on it in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes on each side, until golden brown.


Dan Dan Noodles

I have never heard of Dan Dan Noodles- until now, obviously.  I think I just liked the name- that's why I decided to make these.  Plus I had some leftover noodles to use.  Not to mention, I was very excited about using the black mushrooms that I had picked up a while back at a Super H Mart (same place I got the 5 spice powder).  And Target was still having their lovely sale on the Morning Star crumbles; all lights were green!  M loves cashews, too, and I knew that she would enjoy this noodle dish so much. 

I also made a simple chickpea, cabbage, and pasta soup yesterday, mainly to use up the beans.  It turned out alright, but nothing spectacular.  I have posted a picture anyhoo, just because I love my camera.
I guess I was kind of on a pasta run yesterday- pasta in my soup, Dan Dan noodles, and I made the Vegetarian Hot Pot again to go with it because that would use up the rest of the noodles.  But I certianly didn't mind one bit!

A little about Dan Dan noodles: Appearently they are noodles in a spicy sauce with a few veggies and pork.  They are Chinese Sichuan cuisine... but whatever, they taste good!  I really have no clue how authentic this recipe is, but I'd call it tasty.

Dan Dan Noodles

Adapted from Vegan-Food.net

4 servings


• 3.5 oz medium rice noodles
• 3 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp light miso
• 1/2 tbsp chili garlic paste
• 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
• 2 tbsp water
• 2 tbsp veggie broth
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 4 dried Chinese black mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and chopped large
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup vegetarian hamburger crumbles
• 3 T cashews
• Chopped green onions, for garnish


1. Boil the noodles in a large pot of water for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat, and allow to sit for 45 minutes to 1 hour+, until they stop expanding and are soft.
2. Mix together the soy sauce through the water in a small cup, and set aside.
3. Heat a wok coated with nonstick spray over high heat. Saute the onion, mushrooms and garlic in the broth until the onions soften. Add the crumbles and sauce, and heat through. Add the noodles, and continue cooking until heated through (again).
4. Remove from heat and add cashews and green onions for garnish.


Sushi Time

Just a quick note about sushi.  It's really quite vegetarian friendly, and easy to make.  The only thing I have to say is don't try to fit too much into your roll.  You can't.  You.  Can't.  But other than that, there's not really much to say.  Just fill and seal with water! 
Oh, and I found out that my Asian Dressing goes great with sushi.

Basic Ingredients
• 8 sheets nori
• 1 cup uncooked brown rice
• 2 tbsp rice vinegar
• 1 tbsp white sugar
• 1 pinch salt
• Avocado
• Asparagus
• Cream cheese
• Sweet potato
• Goat cheese
• Roasted red pepper
• Beets
• Carrots
• Egg Omelet
• Roasted peanuts
• Green onion
• Bell pepper
• Eggplant
• Mushrooms
• Roasted sesame seeds
• Tofu
• Lettuce
• Potato
• Onion
• Sesame seeds
• Peas
• Green beans
• Sweet potato
• Jicama
• Spinach

• Mizuna leaves
• Basil
• Cilantro

Dressings, sauces and spices:
• Chili-garlic sauce
• Mayonnaise
• Sciracha sauce
• Fresh cilantro
• Hot sauce


An Unfinished Soup, Now Finished and Delish!

Yet again I made something from the oddest cookbook titled Onions, Onions, Onions by Rosemary Moon.  This time is was called Onion, Squash, and Coconut Soup.  I ended up modifying it quite a bit to make it healthier and vegetarian friendly.  It is quite easy to make, very light, flavourful, and pretty. 

The reason I called it unfinished was that the first night I was just dead tired, and M and I were completely famished, so I skipped the pureeing.  The next day, I took out our old blender, and got to work for all of five minutes.  And OH MY GOSH was it muchly improved.  Stellar and over the top! 

If you are pressed for time, feel free to substitue premade butternut squash soup, or canned squash.  I did that the first time I made it, at it turned out just fine.  Also, I would recommend going very easy on the red pepper, because it does get quite spicy.  Quite spicy.

Onion, Squash, and Coconut Soup

Adapted from Onions Onions Onions by Rosemary Moon

“This smooth, spicy soup has a very unusual flavour. The yogurt provides a cooling garnish.” Also works with other squashes. Omitted oil, sub soy for fish sauce, sub milk, extract, starch, sugar for coco milk

8 servings


• 2 large onions, sliced
• 4 cups prepared butternut squash, diced fine
• Pinch of red pepper flakes
• Zest of 2 limes
• 5 cups veggie broth
• Salt and pepper
• ½ cup milk
• 1/2 tsp coconut extract
• ½ tsp corn starch
• ½ tsp sugar
• 3 tbsp soy sauce
• Scallions and yogurt, for garnish (opt)


1. Cook the onions in a large soup pot coated with non-stick spray for 10 minutes with a little broth, or until soft. Add squash and cook for 5 more minutes.
2. Stir in lemongrass, chiles, lime, and broth, and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, until squash is tender. Meanwhile, mix together the milk, extract, corn starch, and sugar.
3. Add the milk mixture and soy sauce to the soup. Puree until smooth, garnish, and serve.


Lions!.. And Cabbage!

After quite a bit of trauma in the kitchen, M and I finally ended up with Lion's Head Cabbage Salad for dinner tonight.  And BOY was it totally amazing!! 
Actually, I got the idea from a trip to my local Target, where they had MorningStar hamburger crumbles on sale.  I decided to get some, since they are quite tastey.  And then the idea for lion's head popped in my head (no pun intended), and I began to do some research.  Just my luck, too, that I happened to have some leftover cabbage and bok choy that needed to be used up!  Anyway, I ended up creating this recipe.  The sauce for the bok choy and cabbage is from FatFreeVegan's Vegetarian Chicken with Simple Five Spice Sauce, since I didn't use that for dipping the chicken in.  I actually have no clue what Lion's Head is supposed to taste like, but this salad sure fit the bill for M and I tonight!

Lion’s Head and Cabbage Salad

4 servings, 176 calories each


Lion’s Heads

• 12 oz burger crumbles
• ½ cup chopped scallions
• ½ cup finely chopped carrot
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• 3 cloves garlic
• 2 tbsp cornstarch
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
Sauce (from Fat Free Vegan’s Vegetarian Chicken with Simple Five Spice Sauce)

• 1/2 cup vegetable broth
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1/8 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
• 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch

• A little soy sauce and broth
• 3 cups cabbage, shredded
• 2 cups bok choy, chopped
• Green onions, for garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Mix the burger crumbles through the soy sauce together in a large bowl, adding more corn starch as needed to hold it together. Divide into four balls.
3. Place the balls on a baking sheet coated with nonstick spray, and bake for 10-15 minutes, until slightly browned and collapsed.
4. Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.
5. Briefly sauté the cabbage and bok choy in soy sauce and broth, until just tender.
6. Combine the sauce, cabbage, and bok choy, divide among 4 plates, and top with one lion’s head. Garnish with green onions.


A Special Package

Ahh.  Not much to say here, except my lovely gift to myself came in today!  A digital camera!!!  Not all that impressive, but it's my first one, and I am so pleased with it.  Not to mention it was on a great sale... Anyway, if I can just get the pictures to download, they will be posted asap, for sure.  It's always nice to get new things, especially since I have been wanting a camera for a couple years now.
Update: I got a freakin' awesome case for it, too!  They're both blue, and they match perfectly.  Watch out food, prepare to be photogenic-ified.

And the recipe for today is something that I got at a restaurant a few weeks ago, and was mightly impressed.  And yet, my version tasted nothing like their's.  But it still turned out oh so pretty, and really yummy!  I am starting to get really fond of the texture of frozen tofu, too.  I have actually only learned of it recently, which is quite sad.  It's so easy to do- just plan ahead a day or so.

Oh, and these straw mushrooms- my aunt told me about them.  I got a can, and it had been sitting around for a while.  This is the first time I have tried them.  They don't have much flavour, but I love the texture- it's really unique.  You should be able to find them easily in the asian section, or at an asian market, in a can.

General Tso’s Tofu

4 servings


• 12 oz tofu, frozen, thawed, and pressed, and cut into ½ inch cubes
• 1 onion, sliced thick
• 1 bell pepper, chopped
• 2 cups broccoli florets
• 6 scallions, cut into ½ inch pieces
• 1 carrot, coined
• 1 can straw mushrooms
• 3.5 oz cooked rice noodles


• 3 tbsp soy sauce
• 3 tbsp sugar
• 2 tbsp rice vinegar
• 2 tbsp mirin
• 2 tsp chili garlic paste (or more, to taste)
• ½ tbsp corn starch
• Veggie broth, as needed


1. Mix together sauce ingredients, except broth.
2. Heat a wok over high heat. Add the onion and carrot, stir fry for two minutes, and add broccoli. After two more minutes, add bell pepper and mushrooms. After two more, add tofu and sauce, heat for a bit, and then add the noodles. Cook until heated through, adding broth or soy sauce as needed, and eat with chopsticks (of course).


Two Dishes (that were) in the Making

Last night's dish was Polenta Pizza.  The toppings turned out excellent, but... the polenta crust was rather mushy.  I think I might have added too much water, and will keep playing with the polenta- I'm only a beginner with the stuff, after all!  When M and I reheated it in the oven tonight, the crust turned out better and more crispy, but the toppings were burnt quite badly!  Although... they were still tasty.

And another dish called Cashew Asparagus came on the menu for dinner.  Actually, since green beans are in season, they posed as the asparagus, but they are both long green things, right?  Anyway, I dunno what went wrong, but the dish didn't turn out as good as last time- although that might have been because the beans were rather tough...  Oh well, it still tasted decent! 

Oh, a very depressing story.  I was provided lunch today by the group I was with, and they had pizza. Just the smell of greasy pizza makes me natious... and for snacks, they had more chips.  Again, lovely, fattening oil!  So, I ended up with a blueberry muffin for lunch, really late.  It was not at all good- greasy and 8 grams of fat in one, unfilling muffin.  And the group leaders said the food was actually going to be healthy.  Go figure!

Well, here are the two recipes.  Muchly improved, might I add.

Rosemary, Mushroom, and Olive Polenta Pizza

Adapted from Polenta by Brigit Legere Binns and Whfoods.com

4 servings

• ½ cup polenta
• Salt
• 1 ½ cups water
• 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
• 2 tbsp veggie broth
• 1 1/2 cup mushrooms
• 1 small onion, sliced into half-rings
• 10 black olives, sliced
• ¼ cup reduced fat blue or feta cheese
• 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
• 1 tbsp sun dried tomatoes


1. Bring the water, lightly salted, to a boil in a medium pot. Slowly pour in the polenta, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the 2 tsp rosemary, and continue stirring for 20 minutes, or until the spoon can stand up for a couple of seconds by itself.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Pour polenta into a pizza pan, and spread as thin as possible.
4. Bake polenta in the oven for about 20 minutes, until it begins to brown. Remove and set aside.
5. Meanwhile, heat the broth in a frying pan coated with non-stick spray over medium heat. Add the onions, cook for 4 minutes, and then add the mushrooms. Continue cooking until tender, and remove from heat.
6. Top the polenta with mushrooms, onions, olives, cheese, tomatoes, and 1 tbsp rosemary, and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until the cheese is melted and toppings are done as desired.

Cashew Green-Beans-Posing-as-Asparagus

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

4 servings


• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
• 1 tbsp mirin
• 1 tsp corn starch
• 2 tbsp broth
• 1 small onion, sliced
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 lb green beans
• ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
• ½ lb mushrooms, sliced
• Pepper, to taste
• ¼ cup cashews


1. Mix together the soy sauce, teryaki sauce, mirin, and cornstarch. Set aside.

2. Heat the broth in a wok coated with nonstick spray over medium high heat. Saute the onion and garlic for 2 minutes, and then add the green beans. After two more minutes add the bell pepper and mushrooms. When the mushrooms have begun to soften, add the sauce, and cook until all the vegetables are tender. Stir in the cashews, season with pepper, and serve.


Salad Dressing- Asian Style

I love salads.  Can't have dinner without one- literally, I have an almost obscenely large salad with every dinner.  But, of course, that means M and I go through a ton of dressing!  A while back, I started to make my own, because it really is so much cheaper- not mention healthier- than storebought.  And I just feel better too, knowing that it's mine...  Anyway, I have come up with several over the course of time.  This one is what I call the Asian One.  So easy to make, and a great one for salads, although I'm sure it could be used for a variety of things, so get creative.

Asian Salad Dressing
A very versatile dressing- somewhat creamy as is, but feel free to up the mayo for more creamyness, and the vinegar for less creamy. It will get a lot thinner after it sits for a day or two. Also, sometimes I will add more chili sauce for heat. Like I said before, dressings are really so versatile. Just go wild!

Makes about 1 ½ cups, 10 calories/tbsp


• 2/3 cup fat free mayo
• 1/3 cup ketchup
• ¼ cup soy sauce
• ¼ tsp tumeric
• ½ tbsp chili sauce
• 1 tbsp miso paste
• Salt and pepper to taste
• ¼ cup apple cider or regular vinegar


1. Combine all ingredients and whisk well to work out any lumps. Chill until ready to serve.


Eggs N Potatoes

So, last night I attempted to use up the potatoes from the farm that I got two weeks ago.  Haha, I guess you could call them old new potatoes- they actually had some sprouts growing out of them.  Anyway, they weren't entirely used up, but I only have 5 to go!

I ended up making a traditional dish- rosemary potatoes.  I roasted about 5 cups of potatoes and 1 onion with a dry sherry and teryaki sauce dressing with a couple tsp of freshly chopped rosemary from the garden.  (I am proud to say that the plant is thriving dispite M and mine's incapability to grow anything!!)  The potatoes turned out great after sitting in the oven for half an hour or so on convection.

And for recipe number two:
A while back I had found a really neat recipe called Mini Wonton Quiches from none other than the Incredible Edible Egg website.  The company that runs that incredible edible egg campaign never ceases to amuse me, for some reason. 

I modified the recipe, making it healthier and vegetarian friendly.  They actually turned out very photogenic, and so adorable!  Not to mention they tasted good, too.  I don't imagine that they would keep very well as leftovers, but they sure are easy to make, and the amount of servings is very easy to manipulate.

Mini Wonton Quiches

4 servings, 140 calories each

Adapted from the Incredible Edible Egg website
  • 16 wonton wrappers
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup veggie burger crumbles (I bet you could also use tofu)
  • ¼ cup green onion, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup carrot, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Coat 16 muffin cups with cooking spray. Gently press 1 wonton wrapper into each cup.  Mine got all nice and prettily wrinkled on the edges!
2. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl . Add burger, green onion, carrot and bell pepper; mix.  Stir in the salt, pepper, and basil, and divide among the wonton wrappers.
3. Bake until filling is set, about 11 to 13 minutes.


Mega-Hit Asian Feast

Like I said- major Asian-cooking bananza!  Of course, only two dishes, but still...  Both turned out delish, too!  M liked them also, which was a double win.  From fatfreevegan's blog, I created Chinese Vegetarian Chicken with Simple Five Spice Sauce, which was adapted from Use Real Butter's recipe.  And wholly cow, that bean curd skin is wierd, but delicious!  I modified the recipe slightly, and was extremely pleased with how it turned out.  Of course, it wasn't nearly as pretty as the other two versions, but oh well...
I also made Vegetarian Hot Pot from EatingWell- this one had caught my eye a while ago, and I had some noodles to use up.  So, a soup was born!  Following is a slightly modified version, healthier, of course!
I thought that the hot pot could have used more broth, but that is probably because I wanted it as a side dish, and not a main.  Also, the real version calls for grated carrots.  I did that the first time, and my hands were in pain after all that shredding.  I will never put myself through that again, but I suppose, if you really want to, you could...

Chinese Vegetarian Chicken

Adapted from FatFreeVegan

6 servings


• 1-2 tbsp broth
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon ginger-root, minced
• ½ cup carrots, minced
• ½ cup purple cabbage, minced
• 1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked, or 1 cup fresh, minced
• 1/3 cup soy sauce (plus 3 tbsp. water)
• 3 tbsp sugar
• 1/2 cup water
• ½ 8 oz package bean curd sheets, thawed if frozen


1. Heat a non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic and ginger in the 1 tbsp broth for about 30 seconds. Add the carrots, cook for a minute, and add the cabbage and mushrooms and continue cooking until softened. Remove from pan.

2. Add the soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of water, and the sugar to the pan, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the 1/2 cup water.

3. Divide the bean curd into 4 large sheets. Rinse one of the bean curd sheets gently under running water. Place on a large cutting board, and cut it into a large rectangle or ovular shape, taking off about ½ of the sheet. Tear the smaller pieces into small strips, and place in the sauce from step 2.

4. Brush the large sheet with some of the sauce, and place ¼ of the filling in a line about 1 inch from the edge of the sheet. Top with soaking strips. Fold in the left and right sides to hold in the filling, and roll tightly. Repeat with remaining 3 sheets and filling.

5. Heat a large non-stick skillet coated with nonstick spray. Add the rolls and remaining sauce, and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until heated through. Cut into slices, and munch away.

Vegetarian Hot Pot

Adapted from EatingWell
8-10 servings


• 6 cups veggie broth
• 4 1/4-inch-thick slices fresh ginger, peeled
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 3/4 cups shiitake mushrooms, chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
• 2 baby bok choy, stems and greens separated and chopped
• 3 1/2 ounces rice sticks or other Asian noodle
• 1 12-ounce package firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (you could use frozen and thawed tofu, too)
• 1 cup chopped carrots
• 6 teaspoons rice vinegar
• 2 tsp chili garlic sauce
• 2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
• Chopped scallions and lime wedges, for garnish


1. Combine broth, ginger and garlic in a Dutch oven; bring to a simmer and cover partially for 15 minutes. Simmer, partially covered, over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Discard the ginger.

2. Meanwhile, about 1 tbsp broth in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, carrots and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring often, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add bok choy stems; cook, stirring often, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Add the mushroom mixture to the broth. Add noodles, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 3 minutes. Add bok choy greens and tofu; simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in vinegar, chili garlic sauce, and soy sauce. Serve garnished with scallions and limes.