This is like, my ultimate guilty, tastes-I-miss-pre-vegan, thing I’ve made ever. I use to get gyros with my dad at the mall and just can’t live in a world where I can’t eat another one again. So this was my masterpiece:

gyro
Seitan looks eerily like gyro meat to begin with, so this seems pretty spot on to my brain when it comes to recreating flavors and tricking your taste buds into thinking you’re eating something else.

I didn’t have the time or the patience to make my own, so I took a package of West Soy seitan strips, and lightly coated it with grapeseed oil, lemon juice, and this bangin’ spice mix that has a boatload of flavor (and ingredients).

1/2 tsp salt (I use Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning grinder, I hiiiighly recommend trying it out, it’s my go to spice for, well, everyday cooking)
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp  cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper (even though I use that TJ’s spice, I still add in the salt and pepper too)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary

Combine everything in a dish, then sprinkle over seitan and mix to cover evenly. (This makes like two tablespoons worth of spices, use as little or as much as you want, I used a lot obv.)
I let it sit “marinating” with that and the lemon juice and oil while I prepped everything else.

The sauce was my first ever attempt at a vegan tzatziki sauce, and it could be better. I used some cashew cream I had on hand, which is super easy to make, and I blended it with a whole cucumber, some lemon juice, salt and pepper and garlic powder.

Thick tomato, crisp red onion, and tender oak leaf lettuce served in a warmed pita filled with spicy, spyro-gyro and cashew cucumber  tzatziki is probably the best food I’ve ever tasted that came from my loins. It would have made my Lebanese Grandma Duke proud.

Please enjoy.

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I do not make soups…because they make me fall down.

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I have only ever made like, two soups ever, and it’s usually a disaster, but this was one experiment that I think I got right. I had a bunch of stuff in my kitchen that needed to be used before I ended up wasting it, and I haven’t been feeling my best since I quit smoking (who would have thought I’d feel worse?! haha) so I decided I needed some soups. Like always, I don’t really have an exact recipe, especially for spices, so you’ll have to design that part of yours based on your own tastes, but mine was pretty spicy, and I ain’t mad at it.

This makes one giant pot of soup (yes that is a technical cooking measurement shut up), so be prepared for lots of left overs if you’re cooking for one or two like I usually am!

Ingredients:

one package Soyrizo (I used both links that came in the package)

about 10-12 medium sized red potatoes

one box of vegetable broth (about 4 cups)

water

one head of garlic

one shallot

one onion

4-5 carrots

olive oil

kale (I used the rest of the bag of Tuscan kale I had in the fridge, it was about 6 cups, it would have been better with about 8 loosely filled cups)

salt

ground mustard seeds

black pepper

ground coriander seeds

onion powder

garlic powder

paprika

red pepper flakes

one cup almond milk (optional)

 

To start, cook the soyrizo in a large, deep, nonstick pot until it’s brown and crispy, then remove it to a bowl for for later.

While that’s cooking, finely chop the garlic, thinly slice the shallot and carrots, and dice the onion. For the potatoes, I halved them, then cut thin half moons, and then halved those again.

Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the same pot you cooked the soyrizo in, and saute the onions and carrots until the onions start to get tender. Then add the garlic and shallot for just another minute or so, until you start to smell the garlic. I like to add salt and pepper, and some red pepper flakes during this step, but you’ll end up adding more later once you taste it, I just normally season at every step.

Add the potatoes, and then the broth. Add enough water after the broth to cover all the potatoes. This is when I added my spices. I used equal amounts of each of these (I’d say about 1/8th of a teaspoon of each at first, and then add more of anything after you taste it): ground mustard seeds, ground coriander seeds, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika, plus additional salt and cracked black pepper, and a few more red pepper flakes, but don’t go too crazy on the spice, because the soyrizo I used had pleeentttyy of heat and it will get added in later.

Bring to a boil, and then simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, but not falling apart.

After the potatoes are cooked, add the kale, and soyrizo, and cook for a few minutes until the kale is done to your liking.

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Once everything is coming together, you can add the almond milk for a creamier texture. I tasted it before adding this obviously, and it was great without it, but it did add a really nice touch (I recommend adding it, since this isn’t the healthiest soup to begin with haha)

Make sure to taste your soup throughout cooking to check your salt and spice level, and adjust it as you go!

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This would be great with some nice crusty bread, so please have all the carbs for me.

 

And if you haven’t seen The Birdcage, there is something seriously wrong with you.Image

“Good eve-e-ning. May I take jour purse as usual… or for the first tine?”

 

This is just an excuse to post my breakfast and tell you all how excited I am to be flying to Utah tonight to see my cousin Nyki! She bought me tickets for my birthday, which is Wednesday. I’ll be 25 whole years old! I still feel like I’m 15 most days, so maybe I’ll start feeling grown up after this milestone. I hope everyone has an awesome Thursday, and please look out for all the great stuff I’ll be cooking in Utah with my cousin, she’s decided to let me take over her kitchen and cook them vegan meals three times a day! We’ll have a lot of silly pictures, no doubt!
Here’s to a safe flight!
xxx

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almost forgot! My breakfast is a piece of organic 7 grain flour-less sprouted bread from Trader Joe’s, topped with 1/4 of an avocado and a little salt, with a smoothie that has half a banana, 3/4 a cup of almond milk, 1/2 cup of frozen berries, 1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter, 1 tbsp of chia seeds, and one packet of stevia in the raw, and it was delicious!

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this is the nutritional information for my smoothie and my toast. I know it looks like a lot of fat, but peanut butter and avocado are two of the best sources of healthy fats that have omega-3’s and are good for you! If you eat a balanced diet of healthy fats and not fried foods with added sugar, the sugar and fat from fruits and nuts is perfectly fine, and tastes awesome by itself.

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SO MUCH FIBER. I’m glad I didn’t have coffee today.

I make this sauce once a week normally, and I’ve made it for friends to show how vegan pasta doesn’t get boring or repetitive, because you can use any vegetables you have around, and add any greens, and beans for added protein.

For tonight’s mix, I used carrots, celery, onion, garlic, kale, crushed tomatoes, and cannelinni beans, it’s full of nutrients and vitamins, plus it’s super good and makes an awesome leftover lunch, which I’m already excited about eating tomorrow. (yes, really)

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(Serves 4) Ingredients:

one onion

four carrots

8 stalks of celery

8 cloves of garlic

two cups of kale

one 28 oz can of crushed or diced tomatoes

one cup plus extra vegetable broth

olive oil

salt and pepper

red pepper flakes

optional: fresh thyme and basil (I had these in my fridge and usually add them whenever I have them, it adds a great depth of flavor to the sauce)

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Saute garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds

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Add your mirepoix (celery, carrots and onion), and salt and pepper. If using fresh herbs, add them now.

Chop the thyme to release the flavor, and chop basil.

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attack of the GIANT basil leaves, they smell so good!

Cook for a few minutes, until onions are translucent.

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this is my archaic can opener that HATES opening large cans, it takes foreverrrrrr!

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Add one cup of vegetable broth, and can of tomatoes, plus one can of cannellini beans if using them.

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Add kale to pot, and stir to combine.

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If the sauce is not wet enough to incorporate kale, add more vegetable broth.

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Cover and cook on medium until carrots are fork tender.

 

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Serve over whole wheat penne!

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I love to eat this pasta with a side of toasted bread to use to scoop up all the rest of the sauce in the bowl, but since I’m trying to be a good girl I’m just having my usual mixed baby greens salad, but please eat all the carbs for me.

This is a really filling pasta, and it’s perfect to make a big pot and save some sauce, freeze it, and reheat in a pan another time if you’re making fresh pasta (I usually just keep leftover pasta for lunch it doesn’t stay very well in my fridge haha).

It’s an easy fridge cleaner, too. Add whatever you’ve got! Bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, any vegetables you have you need to use up.

As always, please let me know if you end up making this, and any comments or suggestions about the recipe are more than welcome!

Pasta luego xxx

 

 

NON FOOD RELATED EDIT::::

 

I went to the pinball hall of fame with my old friend Taylor who’s in town visiting tonight, and I played my favorite Dr Who pinball game :)))))

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he said I need to get out more because I started doing my cats voices when we weren’t even at my house with the cats….

tofu flag

We are tired of your abuse!

I tried to get my mom and boyfriend to help me come up with a better post title, but they suck so I used my original idea.

bruzzer

(Bruzzer eating the leaves on my broccoli! He loved it, and had more for breakfast this morning!)

Dinner was as easy weeknight meal that’s easily refrigerated for lunch left overs:

finished on platetofu

Balsamic marinated tofu, with roasted broccoli and barley.

sprouted tofu

I use this awesome tasting organic sprouted tofu from Trader Joe’s, of course! It’s fresh tasting and non-GMO soy, which makes me worry less about the soy products I buy and eat.

halfsfourths

Slice your tofu into thin steaks. I cut mine into fourths.

tofu blanket

Press your tofu, however you tackle that. I use kitchen towels, and my heavy pizza stone.

pizza stone

While your tofu is pressing, make your marinade.

ingredients2

Combine 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp agave nectar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, the juice from half a lemon, salt and pepper to taste, red pepper flakes, 3 cloves chopped garlic, and 1 tsp grated fresh ginger in a shallow baking or casserole dish with a whisk.

marinade

Lay tofu steaks in marinade and swirl pan around to coat all visible surfaces of tofu. Leave the dish in the fridge for at least half an hour, and up to over night. The longer you let it sit, the more flavor the tofu takes on. Do not discard the remaining marinade after soaking, save it to reduce for the balsamic glaze.

marinating tofu

Either heat a grill pan or saute pan over medium high heat, or turn your griddle on to a medium high temperature. Place tofu steaks on your heating surface and grill until browned, then flip and grill other side.

grilling tofu

Heat remaining marinade in a small sauce pan, over medium heat. Reduce until thickened and syrupy. This should be done right after the steaks go on the pan, as it takes awhile to reduce into a glaze.

balsamic reduction

To cook barley, boil a large pot of water or vegetable broth (I used a combination of both). I added salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders, and paprika to the broth mixture. Add barley to the pot and boil until tender, about 10-12 minutes.

barley brothboiling barley

Once done, drain and season with more salt and pepper.

drained barley

Barely doesn’t soak up much moisture, so it’s hard to season. It’s best to add your seasonings before and after cooking to ensure a good flavor, but even if yours tastes a little plain, it will be coated in the balsamic glaze later and be a great vessel for that strong flavor.

barley on plate (1)

Serve barley under the tofu, and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

tofu on plate

To make the broccoli, or any roasted vegetable really, heat your oven to 450 degrees.

oven temp

Cut your broccoli into bite sized stalks.

chopped broccoli

Spread out on a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil and the juice of half a lemon, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

tossed broccoli

Roast in the oven until the tips are brown and crispy, stirring with a spatula at least once to create even browning.

This roasting technique can literally be used for like, EVERY vegetable. I rarely steam veggies anymore, and default to roasting when I’m making a side dish, or something I’m going to add to pasta. My favorites are broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels, potatoes, and carrots. The most common seasonings I use are salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, with olive oil and lemon juice, but sometimes with potatoes and carrots, I will add rosemary and thyme or oregano instead of the lemon juice, it compliments the earthy tones better than the tangy citrus.

I had a fun time talking with my mom and drinking some cheap white wine, and I really love this tofu cold for lunch the next day. And hey, look at that, it also fits the “bean, green, grain” mold, with tofu serving as the protein (bean), broccoli as the green, and barley as the whole grain. It’s super filling, and can serve a lot of people, or just one if you’re cooking for yourself.

If you make this, please let me know your thoughts on it, and any suggestions please!!! All feedback is wanted, good or bad!

I make this super easy cashew cream for a lot of things in my regular rotation, so I like to keep a jar of it in my fridge at all times. It’s really versatile and can be used in countless dishes and to replicate amazing things.

I personally have used it so far by:

soaking day old bread in it for french toast

mixing with fresh nutmeg and garlic for a creamy alfredo sauce

blending with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and fresh basil for ricotta for lasagna

blending with lime juice and cilantro and silken tofu to make sour cream

combining with whole seed dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar for a sauce great over roasted asparagus and tofu

blending with silken tofu and seasoned with garlic,onion, dill and apple cider vinegar to make ranch dressing

melting with butter and sugar to make sea salt caramels that I gave as Christmas gifts this year!

I’m probably forgetting a few things I’ve made with it, too. I’ll have a longer list in no time, this stuff is incredible!

I usually start out with two cups of whole raw cashews. I buy them from Trader Joe’s, I think they’re about 3 cups or so in each bag, but I don’t have a jar big enough to keep all the cream that yields from that many cashews so I only do 2 cups at a time, for now.

raw in bag

Take your raw cashews in an appropriately sized mixing bowl, and cover them with cold water.

soaking in bowl

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge over night. I know lots of recipes say anywhere from half an hour to over night, but I’ve always done it the night before so I can’t attest to how soft the cashews get after only 30 minutes, but you can try if you’re rushed!

bowl in fridge

Once you’ve soaked them for your chosen amount of time, rinse them off, and add to your food processor or high powered blender. For a thick ricotta-like cream, add just a few table spoons of cold water, just so that your processor has something to work with. Otherwise, for a thinner cream, just barley cover the cashews in water. Pulse a few times, just to see what your consistency is like. If it’s too thick, add more water and blend for a few seconds, and keep doing that until you have your desired thickness. For most uses, other than the thicker ricotta, you will want your cream to be about as thick as dairy cream.

whole in blender

Any thinner, like milk, wont be as useful or as textually similar when making dishes that replicate dairy products. When making a cashew cream for most uses, after it is the consistency of dairy cream, you might want to use a small mesh sieve to strain the cream, unless you have like a Vitamix or something crazy, which I don’t. I have a cool Ninja, but it doesn’t always get the cashew cream perfectly smooth, but I don’t mind and don’t take the time to strain it, but that’s up to you whether or not it’s worth the extra effort, it’s a texture thing.

in blender 2

This is the texture I’m stopping at for this batch, since it will be used for ricotta in my lasagna on Thursday, but if I want to use any of it but need it thinner, it can be added to the food processor again with a tablespoon of water at a time until it’s where you want it.

jar full

This jar would be full if it were a thinner cream, and can last in the fridge for about 3-4 days, after that it starts to smell off and doesn’t taste good, the oils in the cashews start to go rancid.

This is just a basic recipe that can be used for anything, and since I’m not actually cooking anything other than this right now, I don’t have a recipe to showcase it in, just yet! But I will be using it in a day or two to make LASAGNA so look out for that one and you can see how this is used to make cashew ricotta cheese that would fool anyone!

 

 

Who else enjoys rhyming alliterations?

brother with kale

this is my vegetarian cat named Little Boy, or more commonly known as Bruzzer, stealing kale off my counter top during my photoshoot

Anyway. I’ve been struggling to come up with combinations to fill a common vegan dinner plate guideline, which is to include a bean, a green, and a grain. Then I remembered that I already make something that fits the bill perfectly. My grandma’s is the original version, technically an escarole and bean soup, but mine is nearly exact except for the fact that I can never find escarole so I end up using kale or chard, and that I do not add pureed beans to thicken it into a soup, instead I just mash a few with the bottom of a jar in the pan while it’s cooking. I like to eat it on toast instead of a soup with a spoon. I really like making this dish for other people, it’s surprisingly easy and delicious, and can be made for a large number of people at a time.

Like anything I cook, this isn’t an exact science. You might like less garlic or salt, just figure out what tastes best to you and season to that.

ingredients

(Serves 4) Ingredients:

6-10 cloves of garlic

two cans of cannellini beans, or 32 ounces cooked dried great northern beans

olive oil

salt, pepper

red pepper flakes

vegetable stock

kale, or chard, or escarole, or any dark leafy green

bread

garlic in pan

Slice garlic thinly

Coat bottom of a deep, large pot with olive oil

saute garlic in olive oil and add red pepper flakes, a tsp is mildly hot, half a tbsp is really hot!

add beans, if using canned, rinse the beans and do not add water with beans

beans in pan

add between 1/2-3/4 cup of vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

smashing beans

use a can or jar or anything you have to smash some the beans, but leaving some of them whole, the ratio is up to you!

cover beans with kale, and stir to combine

kale in pan

if mixture is too thick to incorporate greens, add more vegetable broth

cook on medium heat until heated through and greens are wilted and tender

finished in pan

turn your oven’s broiler on

drizzle bread with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper

bread on pan

put bread in oven under the broiler until brown and crispy

serve beans with bread

finished on plate

I love this dish during the winter, with a glass of white wine and a green salad. It’s got protein, fat, and carbs, plus whole grains, leafy greens with lots of nutrients, and a lot of flavor. It’s the best with sourdough bread, but I’m trying to stay away from bleached flours and stick with flour-less whole grain bread, which is why I have dorky triangles of toast instead of luscious golden brown, olive oil glazed sourdough pieces that I love so much. Carrrrbssss….

I am going to Utah for my 25th birthday this Thursday through Sunday, to visit my cous-sister Nyki. She’s graciously opened her kitchen to me and told me that she and her boyfriend Dallas will be eating completely vegan during my stay with them, I am so excited! I’ll be posting lots of fun pictures of us in SNOW OMG SNOW, and all of the fun vegan things we will undoubtedly make together!

If anyone is actually reading this, how am I doing?