Friday, January 29, 2010

Homemade Vegetarian Dinner On Tuesday And Thursday!

I made a promise to make full vegetarian meals for Thomas and I every Tuesday and Thursday. This week was the third week of this experiment. However, Thomas had undergone oral surgery on Tuesday and was relegated to soft warm foods.

He was in a lot of pain and was basically starving by the time dinner came around. I really didn't want to take any chances, so I decided to repeat a winner from a few weeks ago, the vegetarian Shepard's Pie. Instead of carving out EAT Me on the top I just made a heart. For dessert, we had tangerine juice bars that doubled as an ice pack for his mouth. On Thursday, I made my old standard, lentil soup thick with red and green lentils, red onion,  purple, red, and baby potatoes, garlic and baby carrots. It is always a hit on cold winter days when you might be a little down and in this case unable to chew food. We topped it off with chocolate soy pudding I bought in snack packs at Rainbow.

I regret I didn't take any pictures, but it just didn't seem like the thing to do. By the way, let me know if you would like any of the recipes I have mentioned.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Norma's Cookies

While Thomas was explaining to me how he felt about his family being so far away, I recalled another story he told me that included the care packages his Mom had sent him every Christmas full of homemade cookies. She had stopped sending them when her health started failing.

So, all day on Saturday we made the exact cookies she had sent him annually for so many years, many years ago. We made three different kinds of cookies Peanut Butter with Hershey's Kisses, Rainbow cookies consisting of three layers--one with Maraschino cherries, one chocolate, and one with pecans--and Cornflake Marshmallow Holly cookies.

I might have had the Peanut Butter ones before, but I have never had the other two kinds. However, the Cornflake Marshmallow Holly cookies are basically Rice Crispy Treats with cornflakes instead of Rice Crispy's. Just so you know these are not health food cookies. As a matter of fact they are the opposite of health food, the anti-health food snack if you will.
They were really good!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Homemade Vegetarian Dinner Last Night!

Last Night's Menu

Kohlrabi Soup w/ Tofu

I really had no idea what to do with the two different kinds of (purple and regular) Kohlrabi and the Watermelon Radishes Thomas and I bought last Saturday. I found this recipe online at and followed it with a few modifications. I used soy milk instead of regular milk and fake butter when it called for butter. I couldn't find a bay leaf (don't ask me why) and I added the leftover cashew sauce I had made on Tuesday, plus a whole package of Savory flavor baked tofu. I thought it came out pretty good. However, I suggest blending the hell out of it. I had to throw it back in the blender, because at first it had the consistency of baby food.The cashew sauce was an after thought. Normally, I would have chosen one protein and would not have gone with cashews and tofu.

Green Cabbage and Watermelon Radish Salad with Sunflower Seeds and Homemade Dressing

The tricks (I have found) to a good cabbage salad (or slaw if you will) are to slice everything very thin and keep the pieces as long as possible, toss in only enough salad dressing to coat each piece, put it in the fridge a couple of hours before dinner, and then right before eating toss in the rest of the dressing. I think that chilling it with only half of the dressing keeps the salad crunchy.

Baby Potato, Purple Potato, and Yam Chips

The homemade chips were very tasty. However, really oily. I laid them out on paper bags to de-grease them, but upon looking back we probably should have patted off the front sides of them as well. We seasoned them with salt and pepper, but I think any herbs would have tasted great.  The purple potatoes came out the most crunchy. I think I sliced the yams with my brand new Mandolin too thin, because they browned up way too fast, but they tasted amazing!

I had to put Thomas to work


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Homemade Vegetarian Dinner Last Tuesday!

Cooking on Tuesday night was a little rough for me. My plan was to make baked tofu in a cashew cream sauce over jasmine rice, steamed Brussel sprouts and baby carrots with fennel, and a salad incorporating some of the crazy lettuce we had bought at the San Francisco Farmer's Market on Saturday.

The biggest problem I faced was the time crunch. It was pouring rain most of the day, so my errands took longer than usual to carry out. I also think the damp cold weather irritated my foot. I was walking terribly slow with an obnoxious limp. By the time I got home I had about a half an hour to make everything. After I put on the rice and started the veggies in the steamer, I realized there was no way the rice would be done in time. I had to improvise, so I put on water for the rice noodles that I remembered I had. Those take a few minutes and are 100% brown rice, so I figured that would be an adequate substitute.

I doubled the recipe for the cashew sauce (I had found online at, with less water because that was all of the starchy water left from the pasta and three times more garlic, just because. In a medium size skillet I sautéed large pieces of red onion and the Savory baked tofu I cut into cubes. I just bought the tofu already cooked. Then I poured in about half of the cashew sauce and let it reduce about a third in the pan, because I thought it tasted too strong on its own, which I think worked perfectly. However, next time I would reduce more of it and then add the rest of the sauce and reduce it again about a third and save some cashews to garnish the dish. I never made the salad.

Baked tofu in a creamy cashew sauce over rice pasta 
and steamed Brussel sprouts, carrots and fennel

Yesterday, I made a salad with red leaf and just peppered in the weird lettuce we had bought on Saturday. One of the lettuces was a dark maroonish red color and the other one was green with spots the same color of red. Both of them had a strong bitter taste, but mixed with the red leaf lettuce, blue cheese, pine nuts, apples, and grape tomatoes it tasted great. I fried up a package of the Gimme Lean fake sausage with some red onion, poured in a jar of organic spaghetti sauce and threw in the rice we didn't use on Tuesday. I felt very industrious not wasting anything and it all came out great.

So, now it is Thursday and I have no idea what I am going to make for dinner tonight. I am being taunted by the huge bowl of radishes Thomas and I were hypnotized into buying at the Farmer's Market.
Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hanging With The Tourists And The Yuppies

Thomas took this by mistake, but I really like it

Well, today is Tuesday and I am wondering what to make for dinner. Last week I decided I would create full vegetarian meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Saturday, Thomas and I soldiered on (I think it took us about 7 minutes) to the Ferry Building to shop at the Farmer's Market. I haven't been since last year and Thomas has never checked it out. It is kind of a tourist destination as well as a yuppie vortex, which are two groups of people a lot of San Franciscans try to avoid. However, it has the best variety of organic produce from local farms in the city. We got there probably around 9:30 in the morning. I knew it was on the late side, but that was the best we could do. Arriving late at the San Francisco Farmer's Market doesn't mean you'll miss the best produce. It simply means you will not miss most of the tourists and city dwellers pushing those crazy kids in those gigantic strollers. We decided whole families just don't get out of the house before 9 am. Also, I think the people are a little more polite earlier on Saturday morning. I suggest getting there no later than 8 am.  

Thomas took these pictures of us

We were really cold

This is where we went to escape from the maddening crowd

Immediately, we were overwhelmed by the amount of people already there, plus the amount of booths selling produce as well as prepared food, spices, pickled things, and cheese, cheese, cheese. I love cheese, but these days I am trying not to get lost in it. We just concentrated on the goat cheese, because I am convinced it is better for us. However, in the end we didn't buy any. We ended up with a bunch of different types of radishes, potatoes, chard (baby and regular), two kinds of lettuce I've never seen before, two bags of almonds, and a type of pear I have not had before, plus other things I am sure I have already forgotten about. Right now I am trying to figure out what to do with all of this, plus the broccoli and cabbage I already have.  

I will let you know how it turns out!

By the way,
I found this great vegan cooking blog I would like to share!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Homemade Vegetarian Dinner On Tuesday and Thursday!

I have been a vegetarian for nineteen years. Over the years I have gone through periods when I'd cook quite a bit, other times I would go out to eat for every meal, and recently I have been eating food already prepared out of a can or the freezer.  Clearly, just nuking my food was the only option the two months after foot surgery, but I have been a lazy vegetarian for a few years, now. I don't (ever) eat fish, chicken, or anything that had eyes, but I tend to depend on quesadillas and mac and cheese a little too much and the extra poundage I have acquired proves it.

Cooking full vegetarian meals just for me, feels weird. Now, that I can walk around my house, stand long enough to cook a full meal, and have a guinea pig to experiment on, I mean cook for I am determined to do so. Thomas, my willing participant in this cooking venture, is also a vegetarian.

So far so good, as I have already prepared two full vegetarian meals this week. Neither of us have ever really gone out with vegetarians who are really into food before, so this is a real treat for both of us. Both of the dinners were things I created without recipes and have never made before this week. I forgot to cut off my Spud account and they delivered the set box with organic veggies I do not usually order, so I had to get creative and just use what I had.


Green leaf lettuce, plain goat cheese, red onion, pine nuts, and Mandarin oranges with homemade dressing

Roasted Root Vegetables
Red beets, yellow beets, baby potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, red onion, garlic cloves, leeks, whole sprigs of Rosemary, Thyme, and Dill

Baked Tofu
Tofu cooked in a pear and ginger caramelized sauce with fresh pear


Green leaf lettuce, plain goat cheese, unsalted and raw cashews, apples, and grape tomatoes

Veggie Shepard's Pie
Vegetarian Sausage (Gimme Lean), celery, red onion, garlic, baby potatoes, and sweet potatoes

It's barely legible in this photo

Tomorrow, Thomas and I are off to the Farmer's Market at The San Francisco Ferry Building to figure out what we are going to eat next time.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Home At Last

I have been back in San Francisco for over a week. However, I haven't ground into daily life, for a variety of reasons. One of which is the fact that I literally came down with a cold the day I came home. When I woke up in the morning I had a little bit of a sore throat. By the time I got off of the plane I had a full blown cold.

Good thing I was just using the cane and not still on the crutches and great thing Thomas decided to pick me up. It would have been horrible, if I had to not only hobble through the entire airport, wait for my baggage (which took over an hour) then struggle with my suitcase, make it to the shuttle area, and then get a van home all on crutches, sick as a dog. As it was, (amazing) Thomas was as close as he could get to the gate waiting with flowers, just for me.

Airport Flowers and Get Well Fruit