Tag Archives: carrots

currypotpie0

Yes, I have gotten quite bad at keeping up with Vegan MOFO, and this will be the last prompt that I will make a post for. I technically will be posting a review of How It All Vegan, which was suppose to be my favorite vegan cookbook. But this post was for the prompt “What was your first vegan meal?” Truthfully I probably had some vegan meals before I went “vegan.” I had spaghetti and tomato sauce plenty of times. But, when I first started my vegan journey in college, I remember making many meals from How It All Vegan and The Garden of Vegan.

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So this dish is from The Garden of Vegan, and it has been altered a lot over the years. My culinary skills have gotten better, and my pantry has gotten larger. But this use to be my impress a person type of dish. Back in the day I use to live on 16th and Webster in Philadelphia. It is funny seeing how much it has changed, at the time we had a rowhome that had no neighboring buildings. It looks like there are now buildings sitting next to it. I was about a mile away from my classes, and even further from a lot of the grocery stores. I needed a bike pretty badly.

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My roommate’s boyfriend was really into biking culture, and had a spare bike to give her. She had no intent of actually biking around, and the bike was much too tall for her. So like any college student, I chimed in if he was interested in giving me the bike…. for free. We struck a deal, he would give me the bike if I made him a vegan dish. He really couldn’t think of anything that didn’t have meat, cheese, or eggs in it. Naturally he loved the meal.

I still have my bike, though it is reaching the end of it’s usefulness. I hate biking in the suburbs because no one treats you properly on the roads. Plus we have a storage issue with the bikes, and I need to fix the wheel, which I am putting off. 

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As mentioned before, there has been lots of alterations with this dish. For starters, the pie cuts best when it has time to sit. In fact, these photos were taken the next day when the pie was really cold. You can also play around with all the veggies you pick for the inside, use whatever you have kicking around in your fridge and adjust cooking times. 

I also have altered the pie crust quite a lot. I remember taking the dough and just squishing it around to fill in any holes in the past. But as I make more pie crusts for desserts, I’ve learned a few tricks. Mostly upping the fat and adding some besan instead of all flour. Sadly, I didn’t chill the dough long enough and didn’t flour the surface enough, so the pie crust is a little… funky looking.

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mooshu0

I have something to confess- I hate holidays. I mean I LOVE Halloween, but I am not fond of the food traditions for American holidays. Unless I am making my own spread, I am not a fan of Thanksgiving. It usually involves me asking my husband what he wants, and then making it. My family on the other hand- seems to love it. But if you left it to me, I would rather be eating Chinese take out. I am pretty sure last year we had no Christmas dinner planned with family members and I told Jon all I wanted to Chinese take out. He thought I was kidding. I WAS NOT. We got home from his parents, and I sulked that it was too late to get general tso tofu, and he just stared at me in disbelief. He offered to get Chinese the next day, and it is never the same.

So my happy vegan memory was when I was able to get that Chinese take out. I can’t remember the exact year, but at some point in high school, I remember spending the 4th of July with my Mother. It was pretty un-American. We ordered Chinese food, watched Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, then watched the fireworks from our front yard (barely.) *sigh* Those days are over. Especially my favorite thing about the 4th of July, the fireworks display in Red Bank has been stopped, which is shame.

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I don’t know what I got that night, but there is a good chance it was spring rolls, various apps, and possibly moo shu. I don’t know when I first discovered this dish, but it is one of my take out favorites. For starters you get SO much of it. It is pretty much a veggie stir fry that you serve in little pancakes with hoisin sauce. Traditionally you use pork, but any Chinese take out place will make it vegan, or any meat of choice. 

I rarely get it anymore, mostly because I might get Chinese take out once or twice a year. But making it at home is super easy. In fact, it is much faster when you use a food processor to shred all the veggies. Make prep easy, and the clean up mostly just a food processor, wok, and cutting board. To make the recipe easier I used pre-baked tofu from a local tofu factory. But you can make your own 5-spice baked tofu.

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Most everything is cheap and easily accessible in an American super market. But there are two ingredients that might be hard. The American version of this dish is served with a thin Chinese pancake called a spring pancake. I’ve read reviews saying you can find these in the refridgerator section of Asian food markets. You can use a flour tortilla that you would use for a taco (that’s what I did) or you can serve it next to rice, which is the traditional Chinese way of serving the dish.

I used small oyster mushrooms for this dish, but you can use any type of mushrooms you like. I would try and stick to something like button mushrooms, shiitake, or baby bellas. Thinly slice the mushrooms so they are small and fit well in the wraps.

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curryramen0

It has been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe on the blog. I guess I needed a break from Vegan MOFO, where I posted a whopping 14 recipes, that is almost a new recipe every other day! And there is the holidays where I get a little scared of breaking out the new recipes and try to stick with the classics. And I really haven’t been feeling like cooking as of late. I think my new house set up seems like such a bigger commitment to either be in the kitchen or be on the computer. In the old apartment the computer was so close to the kitchen I could hear if something would overflow and hear timers, etc. Now the computer is on the second floor, and I just get anxious that something bad would happen.

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But before I talk about this hot pot, can I stop and talk about mourning someone who died awhile ago? Last night I noticed that my husband has been really preoccupied, and more stressed than normal. Sure work might of been really crazy, but something seemed different. Turned out he found out one of the girls he dated in high school died, but it happened several months ago and he was just finding out.

I know this can suck, and can happen often in smaller town. It has happened to me, with my friend Pete. We were friends senior year of high school and he wanted to hang out during our breaks during college, but I was sadly in another state and couldn’t hang out. I made some comment about his brother with Alexa, then proceeded to ask about Pete. She was dumbfounded and told me he past away, like 2 years ago. Nobody mentioned it to me because everyone thought someone else told me.

It was weird, because I couldn’t really talk to many people about it, because everyone already knew for such a long time. They had already passed the different grieving phases, so I was kind-of left alone with my feelings. I felt terrible for not being able to go to the funeral, not being able to hang out when we could of, and I felt bad for his brother, who under the circumstances of the death, felt responsible. Where do you turn? Luckily I could talk to Alexa about it, and I had a friend in my area who actually went to college with Pete, and also thought I knew about the death. So it we talked about awesome he was.

For my husband this girl got his by a car while running, so maybe it hit him on a closer level since we both go running. So now I am a little nervous what my next run will do to his nerves. But it is bound to happen. I don’t know, it is such a weird feeling about finding out someone passed away so long after it happened, it can feel embarrassing and isolating on top of all the feeling you get from mourning.

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But this post is about soup, so we will change the topic. This curry hot pot is one of my favorite weeknight dinners. It is super simple to make, and probably only need 10 minutes of prep time. Just chop, add broth, and boil. No sautéing, or prepping the protein. And even better, it is super easy to customize! That can be great when your partner doesn’t totally jive with your palette. In this case it is my husband not wanting his soup as spicy as mine. And if they don’t want tofu, it is easy to sauté some meat or faux meat for them. One wants a gluten-free diet? Use some other noodle (I’ve tried bean noodles, it is bitchin)

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It is worth noting the star of this recipe are individual hot pots. It was something I never bought because I thought it was silly and maybe a waste of money. It went on a wishlist for our wedding, and my sister and brother in law bought them for us. I mean it is an expensive item- $36 a pot, and you need to buy TWO for a couple. But I can safely say this is the greatest thing for two people living with each other. It is nice to have our own bowls for own meals. I’ve already posted recipes for dolsot bibimbap and mushroom hot pots with these pots. Again, this made it so I could have my super spicy bibimbap, while my husband could have his whimpy version. If you in a serious relationship and living with your significant other, I totally recommend buying them. You get the satisfaction of making what you want but sharing a similar experience.

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Keeping with the idea of customizing, this recipe is super flexible. I posted what I made in these photos, but I’ve switched around the ingredients. I’ve made this with seitan sausage instead of tofu, grilling the seitan and adding it in with the ramen. I switched noodles, switched the veggies (using sautéd onions, raw celery, potatoes, etc), this is a forgiving recipe. If you are thinking of different veggies to use, I usually use winter vegetables that last long in the fridge. Celery, radish, root veggies, cabbage, nappa, green onions, carrots, heck try out some beets. Go crazy. That is what I love about hot pots. Super simple stuff here. 

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If you are wondering where to get vegan ramen there are a few places. Some of the style of mainstream American ramen (oriental and chili) are vegan, and you can just toss the flavor packets. But that seems a little wasteful, but easy to find at your local supermarket. There is an organic all vegan ramen line called Koyo Natural Foods. They sell organic ramen noodles that are plain and have no flavoring. They also sell packets with powders, but I think my hot pot packs more flavor. Your next bet is to check out an Asian Market and look down their aisles. Look under the noodles aisle, ramen package aisle, and refrigerated sections. Read ingredients as egg can be a common ingredient in some of the fresh noodles. I found a package of noodles that came in round dried blocks, and came in one bag. So it saved money and packaging. Once you find a ramen source, you will likely go nuts for it. Continue reading


japcurry0

I love YUKI. Most people don’t know who the heck she is, and I don’t blame most western readers! YUKI is a singer from Japan, and I fell in love with her lead vocals in the band Judy and Mary. I pretty much love all projects and collaborations that YUKI does including a duet with Chara, an album with some B-52 members, and her superband Mean Machine. And if you click on any of those links- sorry for the low quality videos. The songs are pretty old, 13-15 years old, plus Japan doesn’t really like using YouTube as a way to promote music videos.

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My love for YUKI got stronger as I got older because of her bold personality. She is creative, spunky, cute, and sexy all into one. Then as she went solo, she got married, had children, and snag about it all. She seemed grounded, and still continues to sing even with children, which isn’t that common on Asian countries. She has released lots of photograph books, novels, and drawings that show she really does more than just music. Oh her music videos are visually awesome!

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I picture YUKI being a pretty traditional Mom. So I imagine her making homemade Japanese style curry from scratch. She would probably use Beyond Meat Chicken-free Strips since she friggin loaded, and because she just doesn’t have time to make her own seitan. If you want you can use a curry packet, I found that some of the Japanese curry packets are actually vegan, but still read the backs before buying. I find Japanese foods love to sneak in bonito flakes at any given chance! Also check thetonkatsu sauce when buying it in a store.  The brand I bought was vegan, but there weren’t any others to compare ingredients to. Making this curry at home isn’t that much extra work. All you need to do cook a roux in another small pot, adding maybe like 5 extra minutes to the cook time.

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YUKI would be a little fun so I think she would shape her rice into animals for her kids. This isn’t very hard, and I was even able to do it with brown rice! Just try and get a short grained brown rice, and I got sticky results using this method. Remember- steaming the rice afterwards is key and you will want to let the rice start way before you start the curry so it can cool down to comfortably shape it. Oh! And don’t forget to wet your hands, otherwise all the rice will stick to your hands. I used nori sheets and kitchen shears to cut out facial features. This makes the rice characters cute, and the nori melts in the curry, giving you some extra vitamins and much needed iodine. 

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spicyricecakes0

I really enjoy Korean food. I suppose this recipe could of been placed for the “share your favorite cuisine” prompt on day 25, but this recipe is so simple! I am not the type of person who does “quick” and “easy” unless it is re-heating older dishes. I can tell you right now that this isn’t a “healthy” recipe. I am not sure what the health benefits are outside of the carrot.

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If you aren’t familiar with Korean food you probably have never heard of this dish. If you are going to a Korean restaurant in the US, you probably would get served these as an appetizer. But in Korea they are often served in street stalls and speciality restaurants. At the speciality restaurants it is usually that you order a big serving of rice cakes (according to your party) and order add ins. I first was introduced to this concept from the Korean show Let’s Eat. The main character Soo-kyung orders a big pan of Ddukbokgi (spicy rice cakes) with ramen, and lots of other non-vegan foods. It is a great scene to sell the dish with all or orgasmic moaning and all.

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This recipe is super simple, you can make it on the fly for yourself for lunch or as a starter. But you can easily make a more sustainable meal by doing the add ins. Traditional add ins aren’t really vegan, eggs, fish cakes, blood sausage, mandu (pork dumplings) and cheese. But some options are vegan like ramen noodles, rice, and fried batter. You can sub some vegan versions of the food like some daiya cheese, vegan sausages, veggie dumplings, and fried tofu. Look, I never said this stuff was healthy. This Korean COMFORT food.

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Now, let’s talk ingredients! Although this is simple to cook (sauté carrots and rice cakes, then boil in a spicy sauce) the ingredients might seem a little foreign if you don’t have easy access to asian food market. The ingredients that will be hard to find are the rice cakes and gochujang. Gochujang is a thick paste made from fermenting chili peppers. I wrote about it on the blog, and give a recipe for cheaters gochujang. Gochujang is starting to pick up in popularity, and I was able to pick up a pack at Wegman’s!

The rice cakes are fairly common in lots of other asian cuisines. You can buy them in a log to slice, or you can get them precut. They can come in many different shapes, like these flat ovals that I used, little spheres, or long logs. There are even novelty shapes like stars, but they tend not to be available in the US. (if you want a sneak peak at the fun shapes, you can check out this REALLY old Eat Your Kimchi video) Try going to HMart, which specializes in specifically Korean foods. But most Asian food markets should have rice cakes. They need to be refrigerated (which is why they are hard to buy online), so check in those sections. And keep in mind mochi is different from the rice cakes for this recipe. Mochi is usually sold sweetened. If you are worried, check the ingredients.

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So start with this simple recipe, and next time, jazz it up. Add sausages, some soy cheese, more veggies, whatever your mind can think of. This is seriously a yummy meal, and quick to make.

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Today has been a gross day. I’ve been accepting that my productivity is deeply effected by the weather. Particularly overcast rainy days. Whenever they is a steady drizzle I just want to stay in all day and pretty much do nothing. Now that the sun is coming out I am finally getting around to posting this awesome recipe.

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I am a little surprised that I am just posting a chili recipe. I’ve become a pro at chili, I could practically make them in my sleep. I’ve become so comfortable with them that I’ve more or less stopped using any sort of recipe. It also so helps that I use chilis as a great medium to chuck all my leftover produce in one dish. Oh and don’t forget the fact that I get hella good chili peppers from my CSA. 

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So what has prompted me to make a chili recipe since I am not so formal about my chilis? Really cheap mangos. I love fresh mangos, especially ones that aren’t too fibrous. I bought a giant box of mangos and then started to get tired of blending mangos in my smoothies. Mangos were building up and I didn’t want my last three to go to waste. So I figured I could make something savory out of them.

Or perhaps I’ve been subconsciously persuaded due to all the mango recipes that are circulating. I am seeing so many come into my blog feed that I am starting to just insert the word mango in blog titles! Regardless of the reason I am glad I took the plunge.

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This isn’t a completely new idea for a chili recipe. I mean I did google “mango chili” to get some recipe ideas (or rather an idea of how long to cook mango). And they all seem to be sickenly sweet. I already found my recipe pretty sugary, I can’t imagine adding more sugar, or raisins in the mix. 

This recipe kind-of takes awhile since I am starting with a pound of dried beans. But this also make a lot chili, like 6-8 servings, depending what a serving is to you. I think it is best for a picnic or a summer barbecue. There is plenty to pass around, and you can leave your house after your done cooking, being very far away from your hot kitchen.

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I’ve never been a normal person when it comes to lunches. I don’t just settle for a sandwich. During my youthful meat eating days I remember making oven fried chicken instead of sandwiches. There is nothing depressing to me about having leftovers for lunchtime. Since I have such an open view of lunch, my definition gets muddled. What makes a meal for lunch over dinner?

To me it has to do with portability. Some people that means it can’t be heated up, or needs to be eaten with the hands. This can get tricky with vegan foods. Sure there are vegan sandwich options, but let’s face it, they can get messy since veggies aren’t perfectly square shaped. So what does a vegan do?

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Faux sushi wraps does the trick! You will be surprised what will stay wrapped up happily in nori. The structural stability of sushi has less to do with sticky rice and more about tension and properly sealed nori. The end result is a leak-free lunch that is packed with veggies. Oh and gluten-free, if that is your thing. These wraps are fairly fast to make, and the longest step is cutting the carrots. You can swap out the carrots for any other veggie like bell pepper, cucumber, or even beets!

The tofu, avocado, sprouts and sauce are what you want to keep for sure. The tofu offers a nice chewy texture, the avocado a creamy burst, and the sprouts a slight crunchy texture. The tahini-tamarind sauce gives most of the flavor, and helps soften the nori wraps.

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This recipe serves one and makes two rolls to cut up. It is pretty low calorie, so you will want to have both rolls for yourself. It is pretty easy to double, triple, or quadruple the recipe. But I would recommend not wrapping until the day of since the nori will get soggy and gross overtime.

Another super tip, quickly press the tofu while you get all the components together. Prep the tofu, then start chopping, maybe get other chores done in the morning like dishes, making breakfast, etc. That way you don’t need to wait too long. You only need about 15-20 minutes of pressing.

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Say what you will, but I find that there is almost something artistic about a messy work space in the kitchen.

Say what you will, but I find that there is almost something artistic about a messy work space in the kitchen.

I have been so bored with food recently…and that’s saying a lot! I have wanted to try out new recipes but my budget has been tight and I have had so much going on that I haven’t had the time to do anything, or at least it’s felt that way. Yesterday I buckled down and decided that no matter what – I was going to make at least ONE new thing to eat! I have gotten my body in the habit of trying to eat (or at least ingest) something green once a day and when I don’t get to do that it makes me grumpy. While there wasn’t too much green in the foods I ate yesterday I at least know that what I made was vegan/vegetarian recipes AND they were on the healthier side!

I found this recipe on Pinterest (originally from The Simple Veganista) and tweaked it a bit. I had been eyeing the recipe for a while and decided that yesterday was finally the day to try it out! I always tend to think of even the simplest recipes as time consuming, mostly because of all the chopping they would involve (I tend to add more vegetables or more of a vegetable even if it isn’t called for), and let me tell you…this is SO SIMPLE. There are only 3 ingredients that need chopping – if that even, and the curry sauce is really easy to make as well. 

I am so excited because I have even more for the rest of the week! Can you say LUNCH?

I am so excited because I have even more for the rest of the week! Can you say LUNCH?

The only ingredients that were listed in Julie’s recipe were chickpeas, carrots, scallions, raisins and cashews. I obviously included the chickpeas and carrots, but replaced the scallions for the sweet onion that I already had in the kitchen and replaced the raisins with dried cranberries (or “craisins” if you will). I am not a huge fan of raisins and knew that these would give the right sweetness that Julie used the raisins for in her recipe. I also stuck with cashews because they are delicious. I also added some chopped up radish for an extra crunch and added flavor. Radishes are vegetables that I love but I never seem to use them in recipes that I end up making at home. 

When I threw all of the ingredients for the curry sauce (curry powder, garlic powder, a pinch of salt, lemon juice and hummus) together it all seemed a bit too curry-ish, which I find is hard to accomplish most times. It may have been the hummus I used, I usually like Sabra as my go-to hummus, but this time I had just used the leftover Trader Joe’s (surprise surprise) hummus I had in the refrigerator. The texture was a bit off and it seemed quite salty, so I read Julia’s notes and she mentioned adding maple syrup or any liquid sweetener to take that edge off. After I added a smidge of my Trader Joe’s Maple Agave Syrup is was PERFECT. I put the salad on bread, made it into a sandwich and brought it to work. It’s a wee-bit messy because chickpeas are big and round**, but if that’s the only thing I had to complain about then I would say it all worked out pretty well. 

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I will definitely be making this dish again and I am so excited to be keeping up with The Simple Veganista! I always love discovering new blogs and it’s equally as lovely to find out that the recipes they post are delicious. I recommend this for easy lunches, and the recipe makes a decent amount so you’ll have it for a few people or a few days!

** QUICK NOTE FROM JEN: I’ve made some chickpea salads in my day. I recommend mashing them quickly before stirring in all the veggies and such. Just get a few crushes to help them stay together in a sandwich.


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This recipe has been lurking for over a year now. I made a vegan eggplant and tomato soup over a year ago. It was amazing. So amazing I thought it would be something really nice to make my friends when they came down for my wedding. But I couldn’t find the recipe again. The soup was okay, but not quite the same as the first time. Alexa might remember this soup when I put alphabet noodles in it. Maybe not.

After a few trials I found the perfect amount to get the right consistency. This gives all the same vibes as the out of can tomato soup we all grew up with, but with a more adult twist. White wine, eggplant, and carrots give the soup a complex flavor that doesn’t take away from the tomatoes. I like to pair it was something rich and fatty. Like a vegan grilled cheese sandwich or bread with avocado spread on top.

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The only reason why it took me so long to post this recipe was the photos. I like to keep skins on when roasting and eating veggies. Needless to say red plus purple doesn’t make a pretty color. I eventually found time to peel the eggplant, giving a vibrant red soup. You don’t need to peel the eggplant, but if you like your food to be souper pretty, go for it (did you see what I did there?)

I wasn’t sure if I was going to even post this recipe on here since it was so simple. The flavor isn’t drastically different from normal tomato soup. The ingredients list is short. What does my soup have to offer?

Well, I am being a little selfish here. I am always loosing this recipe. So I am mainly getting it written down for my own records. So I don’t care what any of you guys think of this recipe. I am doing this for me. Side note, don’t forget the salt guys! The soup in the picture kind-of sucked since I forgot to add the salt and pepper. Ugh. Continue reading