Monday, May 31, 2010


My mom has been making this soup for me for ages, and it is one of my favorites. It is a very light but satisfying summer soup. It is easy to make, has very simple ingredients, and can be improvised and still turn out great. If you don’t work with leeks much, they may be kind of intimidating. Here’s how I trim, wash, and cut a leek:

1. Trim the tips of the leek to remove any old, wrinkly parts, and cut the leek in half, longways.

2. Peel back each layer of leek leaf and run water in between to rinse off the dirt. See how it hides down there!
3. Thinly slice the whole leek until you reach the hairy end. You can discard that. I've seen some people throw away the whole dark green part because they say it is too tough to eat. As long as its cooked long enough, that's not true.

A note about cleaning mushrooms: I've always thought mushrooms had to be wiped down with a damp cloth or paper towel because I heard that rinsing them made them soggy. So I wiped down all the mushrooms for this soup. Afterward, I decided to Google that myth to see if it was true. Not! Mushrooms can be rinsed and patted dry to remove dirt, and they won't absorb the water. Alton Brown from the Food Network did a show on mushrooms for Myth Busters. That will save me lots of time in the future!

And now to the recipe...


1 large leek, trimmed, cleaned, and thinly sliced into half-moons (about 3 cups)
1 8 oz package white mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
3 tbs olive oil
4 c water
2 tbs tamari, or to taste

1. In a soup pot, heat olive oil at medium-high heat and sautee mushrooms until they begin to sweat, about 3 minutes.
2. Add leeks and a pinch of salt, and sautee until leeks are translucent, about 8-10 minutes.
3. Add 4 cups of water, or just enough to cover vegetables, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
4. Add tamari and simmer for 5 more minutes. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, or parsley

Serves 4

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I'm not the biggest fan of tempeh. It has a strong flavor which makes it not as versatile as tofu, my soy-product of choice. However, I can't get enough of tempeh that is marinated and baked. After pulling a batch out of the oven, it dawned on me to make a tempeh Ruben. I threw some sweet potato fries in the oven as a side and had myself a really happy lunch.

adapted from Clean Food

One reason I often don't like tempeh is because it is too dry. Steaming tempeh makes it more moist and allows it to absorb more flavors. I thought the original recipe in my Clean Foods cookbook was too sweet and the marinade was not liquidy enough. When I made it again I added a little less maple syrup, a little more tamari, and some water to stretch the marinade. This tempeh is perfect by itself, maybe served with some brown rice and sauteed greens. But if you want to make it specifically for a Ruben sandwich, consider adding 1/2 a teaspoon of caraway seeds or peppercorns or whatever spices you'd associate with corned beef. Serves 4.

2 8-oz packages tempeh
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons prepared mustard (Dijon or stone-ground)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoons water

1. Slice tempeh across into 1/2-in strips and steam for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425.
2. In a shallow baking dish, whisk together oil, garlic, mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice, and tamari. Place steamed tempeh in marinade, flip to coat each side, and marinate for at least 30 minutes (I recommend marinating overnight if you have the time).
3. Place tempeh with marinade in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, flip each piece, and bake for 10 more minutes.


3 tbs vegan mayonnaise (Vegenaise is my favorite)
3 tbs ketchup
3 tbs minced pickles
1/4 tsp lemon juice

For the sandwich, add 4-5 slices of the tempeh, warmed sauerkraut, dressing, tomato, and lettuce to rye bread.


2 sweet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch fries
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, coat sweet potatoes with oil and salt.
2. Arrange in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Friday night I had some friends over for a burger-themed dinner. We bought some veggie burgers, and I made some pressure-cooked baked beans and potato salad. I planned on putting the bean recipe on my blog, but they didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to. The big hit of the evening was the lemon-coconut cake I made for dessert. I stole this recipe from my friend Julia’s blog and she stole it from Vegenomicon. The coconut milk makes the cake so moist and yummy. The recipe calls for a Bundt pan, but Julia used a 9x13 rectangular pan, and I used a taller 9x9 square pan. All seem to work fine. I topped the cake off with lemon icing.

The cake recipe is here.


2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance, softened
2 tbsp soy milk
juice and zest from one lemon

1. With an electric mixer set at low speed, cream the sugar and margarine (I did this by handand it worked just fine).
2. Beat in the soy milk and lemon juice. Stir in the lemon rind.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Breakfast has always been the most difficult meal for me. Vegan + wheat allergy = very few options when it comes to traditional breakfast foods. I also think that if breakfast is the most important meal of the day, most people are eating all the wrong foods. Have you noticed that most breakfast foods are all the same color: white (give or take a little brown or yellow)? Bread, butter, cereal, milk, oatmeal, potatoes, eggs, meat. One way I judge a healthy, well balanced meal is by a variety of colors. I'm not much of a breakfast person, but when I do eat it, it I try to include whole grains for sustained energy and vegetables (potatoes don't count) for nutrients. I prefer dinner leftovers to a bowl of cereal because otherwise I know I'll be crashing an hour later. Check out these recipes for a healthy twist on traditional breakfast.

STEEL-CUT OATS with nuts and dried cranberries

Steel-cut oats are less processed than rolled oats. The whole grain oat is cut into 2-3 smaller pieces but the nutritious bran layer is left intact. Steel-cut oats are higher in protein and fiber than rolled oats. They have a lower glycemic index, meaning they are digested more slowly so they cause a lesser spike in insulin levels and produce more sustained energy without a blood sugar crash. These oats do take longer to cook than rolled, but the cooking time can be reduced by soaking them in the cooking water overnight. I've added almonds and walnuts for added protein and cranberries for deliciousness. I topped mine off with almond milk, maple syrup, and chia seeds. Serves 4.

1 cup steel-cut oats
3 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
small handful walnuts, chopped (optional)
small handful almonds, chopped (optional)
small handful dried cherries (optional)

1. Bring water and salt to a boil then stir in oats.
2. Cover, and cook for 10-20 minutes (depending on desired chewiness), stirring occasionally (this is what the package suggests, but I usually cook them for at least 20 minutes before adding the fruit and nuts)
3. Add cranberries and nuts and cook for another 3-5 minutes (the nuts should be cooked in the cereal unless they've been toasted because they're more digestible, which is especially important in the morning).
4. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for another minute or two before serving.


Kale is one of my favorite vegetables, and it is almost always in my refrigerator. It grows in almost any climate condition, including through the winter, so it is a very hearty vegetable. Kale is a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin C to name a few. The stems are where most of the nutrients are stored, so don't throw them away! Sometimes I blanch kale or other green veggies for a simple breakfast (drop them in boiling water for a few seconds). If I have time, I like to make tofu scrambles because they resemble eggs. Serves 2-3.

2-3 Kale leaves, chopped, stems removed and thinly sliced
1/4 c onion, finely chopped
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 block tofu
1 tbs tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tsp turmeric

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add onions, and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Add kale stems and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add kale leaves and cook until just wilted enough to fit the tofu in the pan (don't overcook!)
3. Crumble tofu into the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add turmeric and tamari and cook for 1 more minute.