Wednesday, November 29, 2006

messy manicotti

I threw together some manicotti without using a recipe, just remembering what I saw on here. Boiled the tubes, stuffed them with tomato sauce, tofu and spinach, poured more sauce over them in the baking dish, and added chreese.

The chreese turned out grey, but tastes fine. This was a good idea, nice comfort food for the colder weather.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Better Late than Never

I meant to make the samosas during the week, but well, one thing lead to another, and i didn't have time. So, J and i made a simple Indian food dinner Saturday night with 2 recent VCaL recipes - the rasam and samosa dishes combined.

All in all, it was quite fun to make as it was all a bit of a production, but well worth it. It was fun to smash the lentils and the smell coming from the soup was fantastic!I turned the rasam into more of a sambhar recipe with cauliflower florets in it. They're really quite similar but J was not into the idea of the rasam and i love sambhar just as much. Oh, the memories of eating this daily in India...

The samosa recipe i used was from two separate cookbooks - Vegetarian Indian and Juice for Life. I think we undercooked the dough as we chose to bake instead of fry. I also made the samosas into litle calzones and i think now, looking back, i would have preferred the fried and pocket-shaped ones. I love samosas and i don't know why i opted out of doing the way they are intended.

Nonetheless, the filling was lovely - potatoes, carrots, corn and spices. We added the leftover filling into our soup and that was a nice touch too.

Since it was Saturday night, we complimented our dinner with some good mixed drinks: I wanted something sweet and light to go with curry so i mixed Fresca with Cassis, Port, and lychee liquor. Yum.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


After reading both recipes I linked to, I decided to try a blend of both. In the cupboard, we had 6 regular manicotti shells and a box of oven-ready canneloni shells, so we made Manelloni/Cannelotti!


• block of regular tofu
• thawed frozen spinach
• 1/2 red bell pepper
• about 5 button mushrooms
• 5 chopped and rehydrated sundried tomatoes
• splash of lime juice
• nutritional yeast
• a little FYH mozzarella
• lots of garlic
• italian herbs, with extra basil

After mashing the mix together, I put it in a freezer bag and cut a corner so it could be piped into the noodles. Of course, the bag kept opening up at the top and I made a mess of my apron, which is now drying in the shower :)

The sauce was made with 1 big can of diced tomatoes, 1 cup of leftover canned sauce, 1/2 a red bell pepper, italian herbs and garlic.

Manelloni/Cannelotti - in da bag

pipin' bag

Manelloni/Cannelotti - in da pan

messy in the pan

Manelloni/Cannelotti - fresh from the cookin'

all cooked

Manelloni/Cannelotti - on da plate

On the plate.

The texture was good and it was comforting, overall. Next time I make it, however, I think I'll add more garlic to the mix. I'll definitely make it again.


When I first learned our recipe would be manicotti, I was worried I wouldn't have the stomach for such rich food. But a few days after thanksgiving, my stomach is back! I headed out to the coop this morning in search of manicotti noodles, but they didn't have any. There were other places I could walk to get it, but I figured, hey, I'll make due with what I have! So using Montebello brand's "conchiglie," I made Conchigliotti!

Though Stagflation's vegcooking manicotti looked great, I decided I was fonder of the ingredients for the vegweb one: vegan parmesan and cheese are two of my favorites, and if I'm gonna have a cheesy dish, I'm gonna put those in! I also loved the addition of lemon juice to the tofu which is a combination that I've been loving lately. I did like how the vegcooking one had spinach mixed with the tofu, so I decided since I didn't have any fresh basil that I'd mix in swiss chard with mine (it was what I had, but that's because it is my green of choice right now. So velvety and delicious!)

First, I set out to make the vegan parmesan. I used to use a product called "Rawmesan," which is great, and if you see it on sale, you should check it out. But I've found it easier and cheaper to just make it myself!
nutritional yeast + walnuts + sunflower seeds + sea salt=parmesan!

leftover parmesan for later in the week!

Then, I set out to make the sauce. I like to start with Muir Glen Roasted Tomatoes cause they rock, but you could use any large can of tomatoes. I wanted the already crushed ones, but since I didn't have them, I ran the diced ones through the food processer. Voila! Then I added olive oil and chopped garlic and way more spices than you really want to know about into the pan with the tomatoes and cooked on low heat.

While that was cooking, I set out to work on the tofu. I really like the fresh tofu they make here in Portland and sell at the coop. I pressed it forever, but it was still pretty wet. Then I added lots of all the spices they suggested, though they were all dry ones cause it was a little rainy and I didn't feel like going out to the patio to get the fresh ones. That feels silly when I admit that now.

Because I wasn't using manicotti, I couldn't exactly stuff the conchiglie, so I mixed the cooked pasta with the tofu, and then scooped the pasta and noodle combination into the baking pan and then layered it with sauce.

before cooking

after cooking

I served it with the rest of the swiss chard. Yum!


I'm not sure if I've ever had manicotti before, but I've been wanting to make it for a while. It looks so delicious. I just wasn't sure how the filling would be without cheese.

I opted to follow the VegCooking recipe, because it seemed a little simpler, and I can never find actually vegan soy parmesan.

Tofu, spinach, green onions, mushrooms, herbs.

Cooked noodles. These were actually a lot easier to work with than I would have thought.

I put some of the pasta sauce on the bottom of the pan before putting the noodles down, to keep them from sticking.

The noodles with sauce on top.

Out of the oven...

The finished product... so good. I will definitely be making this again.

I actually found the hardest part of the process to be taking the finished manicotti out of the pan. The filling would kind of shoot out of one end; I guess the recipe does day to way a little for it to cool down.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tofu Manicotti

The next recipe up is Tofu Manicotti. I browsed for some recipes, but I worried about the testing of some of them. I figured the easiest would be to base the recipe on a basic one and tailor it from there! This could also be adjusted to be a low-fat recipe with low-fat tofu and tomato sauce. If noodles aren't in your diet, maybe you can use sliced eggplant instead!

I found recipes here and here.

Samosa Calzones

Every time I make samosas - which I do frequently for parties and stuff - I always think about how good it would be to have one huge samosa for a meal. This was my opportunity!

The filling:

• about 6 smallish yellow potatoes, diced and boiled until just cooked
• 1/2 a red onion, clopped
• about 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
• 1/2 cup edamame
• 3 cloves of garlic
• 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
• other spices: ground cumin, coriander, cayenne - all to taste

The dough:

• prepared pizza dough!

After boiling the potatoes, I sauteed the onion and cumin seeds in a little oil then added potatoes, edamame, garlic and spices. When almost fully cooked (about 15 minutes), I added the cilantro. The dough was divided into 4, each rolled out, spread with filling and sealed, with a little canola oil drizzled on top. They cooked in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

And now, obligatory food porn!

Samosa Calzone - onions and cumin seeds

onions and cumin

Samosa Calzone - cooked filling

cooked filling

Samosa Calzone - the boy's dough

The boy's wonky shaped dough

Samosa Calzone

The final Samosa Calzone, with Memories of Punjab tamarind sauce in the background.

Oh, yeah - they were goooo-oood!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I used the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, pretty much.


Potatoes after being cooked.

Cumin and mustard seeds frying.

Cumin seeds, mustard seeds, onion frying.

Mashed potatoes and edamame.

Cooked samosas. I kind of disregarded the directions in the book, and folded them like the pierogies.

They were okay. They actually got better with time...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

just to make it official...

samosas. use a recipe from a book, or on you find online.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tomato Rasam for the Soul

I get into big food phases, and this Tomato Rasam heralds my return to my Indian food kick of a few months back. In fact, this soup completely reminds me of a soup that I love to make from the World Vegetarian, Red Lentil Soup with Mustard Seeds and Curry Leaves (Masoor Dal Soup), minus the red lentils.

I loooove the flavors of this soup: tomatoes and garlic and ginger are particularly yummy flavors to me, and mustard seeds and chili and curry leaves are always winners, too. I knew I'd like it, but I picked it, so I'm curious to see what the rest of you think.

From the small amount I know about rasams, they're supposed to be eaten with a variety of foods as part of a complete meal. It's not a meal-in-a-bowl like most soups I tend to make, but rather, a thin soup meant to be served with/over rice. I made the soup on Monday and ate it with bread and cashews (we were running quickly to a movie), but then on Tuesday, we ate it with mixed rices and steamed broccoli. Good, but still not quite what I'm thinking (I was rushing off to another movie!) Tonight, I hope to make a spicy dal of some kind and serve it with the leftover rice and then fancy up the rest of the broccoli.

Oh, I doubled the recipe!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Masar Otamot

I didn't take many pictures here. I didn't really measure the ingredients, per se, but just eye-balled the approximate quantities.

The soup was very tasty, I have to say. Good soup.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Chocolate Cream Pie?

Some things can be easily be made into vegan from a non-vegan recipe. Others, not so easy. One thing that makes it possible is the great science behind making substitutes or alternatives like vegan cheeze, using banana instead of eggs in baking, using vegan 'tuna' instead of the real fish, etc. But, it goes without saying that one cannot make a cheesecake without the cream cheese. And there are cream cheeze alternatives, one i really like. So, the next time i want a cheezecake, i will go to the 'other' mentioned recipe.

Having said that, this pie was really tasty for us. So much so that J had seconds. Yes, the texture was off (not rich or thick like traditional cheesecake), and there was that aforementioned film on top (yuck is right), but this was a decadent chocolate pie. So, i think we should rename it a cream pie, as that was what it really was for all of us reviewing it here.

I too had to bake it for the full hour, and placed it in the fridge overnight. I used soft tofu instead of silken, and used vanilla soymilk instead of chocolate, though i did use the chocolate chips that were optional. Having run out of possible garnishes, i sprinkled mine with sugar just for a bit of pizazz.

So, i'm glad that i read everyone's entries first; i was pre-warned about some of the challenges but i also did not end of feeling like i did something drastically wrong. I wonder if we should review the original recipe to tell the author how ours turned out?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tomato Rasam

AA has a little bit of a sinus infection. Add this to the fact that Jennifer, of Vegan Lunch Box fame, is going to be at my neighborhood vegan store(!) signing copies of her book, and I thought of her post about "Home Sick Soup." I remembered it was a Tomato Rasam, though I didn't remember that it was an external link to another website and not her recipe. Oh well. When I have her book, I can make her recipes all the time!

Anyway, does Tomato Rasam sound good to you? I've been craving Indian food, so I'm going to make it with a bunch of vegetable curries and lentils and rice!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Kick the bastards out cheesecake

So, it was my first vegan cheesecake making last night. I was a little worried, based on the two results I had seen so far.

I thought about trying a different recipe, and I looked through the recipes I had in other cookbooks. I noticed that most recipes called for lemon juice. I decided to add some of that, and some cornstarch, and otherwise use the cheesecake recipe that was posted. Also, I added the optional chocolate chips.

I think that silked tofu that's been blended up smells gross, and this was no different.

Before baking.

After baking for about 35 minutes. I put it back in for another 5 minutes, then decided to take it out. The center looked maybe not totally cooked, but I was willing to chance it.

Here is the finished product, early this morning, after sitting in the fridge.

Here is a slice of cheesecake. I was actually very surprised; it tasted pretty all-right. It wasn't totally firm, but maybe if I had left it in longer, it would have. Either way, I'm actually happy with it.

Happy mid-term election day to the Americans. Kick the bastards out!

Monday, November 06, 2006

another mess, this time not yummy

It all started out well. I was at Dollarama on Saturday and my friend pointed out VEGAN graham crumb pie crust!!

And I liked the messy textures along the way:

Everything looks fine, right? And it smelled good as it started baking...

The recipe said 'bake 35-60 mins, depending on your oven.' Hmmmm. I checked in after 35 mins and the filling was a huge bubbly sludge-like thing. Gah-rosss. The soy milk went funny, it bubbled and grew a slimy skin on top. I scooped off the skin and put it back in the oven at a lower temperature. Still no luck. This is what it looked like after being in the fridge overnight:

Anyone know where I went wrong? I know that's not how the recipe-writer intended it to turn out.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Arethra Franklin of soups

So I took a brief cook-a-long hiatus. But I’m back . . . to let you know . . . I can really shake 'em down.

Oh, and “shake em down” means “make a big pot of soup.”

We decided to leave out the onion because we often do, and I chopped up the squash while Aaron chopped up the rest of the ingredients. We used orange hubbard and delicata squash, and I have some orange hubbard left over that I’m not sure how I’ll use. And guess what, the fingers on my left hand got tingly! Yes, again. It wasn't as painful as last time. I washed my hands and ran an errand with Sara while AA finished up the rest of the chopping and preparing and got the soup to the adding the liquid phase. I added vegetable broth (2 cups more than called for) that I just made from leftover food scraps and the rest of the ingredients.

Took a break to hang out and relax while the soup cooked. Wrote this blog, but now I'm changing it to past tense since it's been a few days since I made the soup.

Added the red beans (soaked and cooked a few days ago) and added some more salt. I decided to forego the cornstarch part because it didn’t sound appetizing to me, but then out of nowhere I'm on the phone with my sister while finishing up the soup and forgetting that I wasn't going to thicken it, and only remembered after I added the arrowroot!

Then I added the rest of the can of corn cause I knew that would just have gone to waste.

The first day, I'll be honest, I wasn't in love with the soup. I can't actually say what, but it just wasn't doing it for me. But then for lunch at work, yum! And each serving after that has been yummy, and we just finished it up today.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Soul Sisters

Hey, where is everyone this week? Here in Toronto, it's a perfect week for soup. I made mine with a grilled cheeze sandwich.

Overall, the soup was good. I didn't have squash pre-cut and i hate cutting hard squash, so i just used more potatoes and added eggplant. One thing that struck me is using corn starch as a thickener. My mom taught me to use flour and to add it at the beginning, and i feel like i could taste the starchiness the corn starch contributed.

Other than that, i love making soups and this was no exception. I have lots left over, and will have to add more water because it's more of a wet casserole now, but will develop even tastier today.