May 16, 2009


Have you made romesco yet this year? This complex and flavorful Catalonian sauce is perfect for grilled spring and summer vegetables. It can be time consuming to make, but it keeps well and the flavors improve with time in the fridge. Make a big batch and eat it with grilled veggies, rice, sandwiches, and crusty bread all week long.

This recipe is cobbled together from several others and has served me well. Feel free to tweak the ingredients, but please don't skip the sweet smoked paprika. After one whiff you will want to dust your mustache with it every morning.

Romesco sauce

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

1 yellow onion
2 red bell peppers (if you are not a huge pepper fan, sub a third tomato for one of the peppers)
2 ripe tomatoes
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
2 T Sherry vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1/3 - 1/2 C almond meal (DIY by grinding 3/4 C almonds in a coffee grinder or food processor)
1 slice bread, white or wheat, stale or toasted, torn into small pieces
1 t sweet smoked paprika (also known as pimenton de la vera; available in fine food stores or spice shops)
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 salt, plus more to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Rub onion, peppers, and tomatoes lightly with olive oil and roast in a pan with sides for 45 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from oven and immediately cover with foil or place in a plastic bag for 15 minutes (this traps the heat and humidity and helps the skin separate from the vegetables). Peel the onion, peel and seed the tomatoes and bell peppers and place all the vegetables in a food processor.

Toast the almond meal by moving it quickly over medium heat in a dry pan on the stove, or spreading it in a thin layer in a baking dish and sticking it in the oven for about 8 minutes while the veggies are cooling. Add 1/3 C of the toasted almond meal to the food processor.

Add the remaining ingredients (olive oil through salt) to the food processor and blend until smooth. The consistency should be similar to ricotta cheese: soft, but thick enough to spread. If your veggies are larger and result in a thinner sauce, add the remaining almond flour. You can further thicken it by adding more toasted bread.

Allow the sauce to cool and serve at room temperature. Eat it by the spoonful, spread it on toasted baguette slices, serve it over rice with grilled tofu, spread it on a sandwich, or plop a huge dollop of it in the center of your plate and surround it with grilled or oven roasted vegetables.

I made it this week and brought it to a friend's house for a grilled vegetable extravaganza. Nomnomnom:

Grilled spring onions with romesco.

Feast! Sandwich with grilled eggplant, vegan mozz, fresh basil, and romesco. Grilled corn, brussels sprouts, onion, asparagus and tofu with romesco.

Bonus wiener-in-a-babushka:

May 3, 2009

Vegan Tattoos!

This lovely new blog got me out my hole and back into the blogosphere. I don't have any tattoos because I am terrified of needles, but I really love seeing tattoos that are about commitment, and vegan tattoos are my favorite kind. There is something both sweet and tough about celebrating your commitment to animals, the environment, and delicious food with something so permanent. Please take a look, and be sure to submit your own vegan tattoo if you've got one!!

March 5, 2009

Balsamic Grilled Tofu Panini (Make this sandwich!)

It's in the 70s in Denver right now and this kind of weather makes me crave grilled things. Grill pans make summery grilled foods possible for those of us that live in third story, balcony-free apartments, and I am so thankful for that. This recipe is delicious, pretty, and requires almost no effort. Get to it!

Balsamic Grilled Tofu Panini

(Makes three sandwiches*)

Equipment: Grill pan, grill, or George Foreman type thing.

1 block extra firm tofu, sliced into six even slices
10 or so cremini mushrooms, sliced

For the marinade:
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste

For the sandwich spread:
3 T Vegenaise
1 T Annie's Woodstock Dressing OR 1 T of the remaining marinade

6 slices of bread
Handful fresh baby spinach
Red onion, sliced thinly

Lay the tofu slices on a paper towel or clean dish towel and press gently with another towel to absorb some of the water. Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade and place tofu and mushrooms in a shallow dish with the marinade. Let it marinate for an hour if you've got the the time, or at least ten minutes if you're in a hurry. If you're using a grill pan, turn the dial to medium high heat and grill tofu for three minutes on each side, or until nice grill marks appear. Throw the mushrooms on the grill after you turn the tofu.

Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients for the sandwich spread and brush the one side each slice of bread with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of sandwich spread on each slice of bread on the side opposite the oil. When the tofu and mushrooms are done, layer two slices of tofu, a third of the mushrooms, 1/3 of the spinach, and a couple of slices of onion on each sandwich. Place on grill for about two minutes on each side, pressing with either a large spatula or a large lid (see below), and then serve.


How I press'em.

Panini with cassava chips and red grapes.

* The tofu keeps well in the fridge, so you can make one sandwich a night for three days in a row. Hot damn.

February 28, 2009

Birthday Weekend Extravaganzaaaa!

We went to Manitou Springs for my birthday last weekend and had a really great time. If you're in Colorado and looking for a laid back and inexpensive mini-vacation, follow these steps:

1. Make a reservation at Gray's Avenue Hotel (actually a bed and breakfast). There are several rooms under or around $100 a night in the off season. We stayed in the Osage, which was super cozy and had me squeeing with delight about the canopy bed.

Photo from

Danny gave them a heads up that we're vegan, and when we arrived they had a plate of almond butter, fruit, and crackers waiting. Gwen made us vegan cookies that night, and tofu scramble, vegan pancakes, and vegan blueberry muffins on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Bourge it up with wine in the hot tub before bed, and don't forget to pet the resident furries on your way out to explore.

2. Go hiking in Garden of the Gods. Admission is free, the hiking is easy, and the views are beautiful.


3. Eat at Adam's Mountain Cafe. I was a little peeved when they didn't have any vegan appetizers on the menu, but then I realized that it's not actually a vegetarian restaurant, and our main courses were so good that I forgot about it.

Pear salad with apple vinaigrette.

Senegalese vegetables with tempeh. I would eat this every day if I could.

Pan seared tofu with udon noodles.

PS. Before you leave, be sure to check your luggage for stowaways.

February 25, 2009

And we're back!

And by we, I mean me. Since November I have been bouncing from Florida to DC to job hunting in Denver with not much time for web logging. But now I'm back and ready to talk about lentils.

I don't know a whole lot about about the nutritional value of many of my favorite foods, and so I've been studying up (ie, Wikipedia) almost every time I cook. Last night I made Egyptian Style Lentil Soup from Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, and was pleasantly surprised by what I learned while the soup was simmering. They are packed with fiber, protein, folate, magnesium, and iron. Plus, they cook quickly and don't require soaking, which means they can be thrown into quick weeknight soups like this one:

So easy, so good.

Red lentils are smaller than other varieties, and turn a light orange color when cooked.

I used red lentils to give it a warm, cheery color, and dressed it up with vegan sour cream and diced tomatoes (not exactly appropriate for the Egyptian style soup, but delicious nonetheless). Fennel seeds, cumin, and oven roasted onions will make your house smell heavenly. Warm flatbread (or whatever you have on hand) is necessary to sop up the last bits of soup in your bowl.

If you're looking to vary your protein sources and up your iron intake (good advice for vegans and non-vegans alike), try this soup, or one of these recipes:

French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme
Dazee's Misr Allecha
Spiced Lentils and Rice
Lentils Tartare

February 7, 2009

January 2, 2009

PDX ain't got nothin on MSP.

Guess what I found at the Minneapolis-Paul airport? A little kiosk called French Meadow Bakery (right next to the the Chili's Too near Concourse G) that had two to-go meals specifically labeled vegan. One was a "spa salad" that included tofu, nuts, dried fruit, olives, and some other stuff, and one was a wrap with grilled tofu, spinach, carrots, kalamata olives, and hummus with a side salad of mixed greens and white balsamic vinaigrette.

And the tofu was really good!

The label, so you can spot it the next time you are stuck at MSP.

I usually associate traveling (the getting to and from part) with eating food that's terrible and/or terrible for me, so this was a nice surprise. I also noticed a place called Maui Taco (near gate C5) that seemed to have several vegan options.

I wonder which airport is the most vegan friendly. Atlanta has Moe's (Tofu Moos!) and Greensboro has Alternative Baking Company cookies at their book stores, but at the moment I can't think of any other airport (besides MSP) where I've found something better than a bagel.