rants & recipes

Archive for the ‘vegetables’ Category

Vegan Tomato Cream Soup

Posted by trktos on 19-March-2011

Sick house here … luckily, not too bad though and already getting better by day 2 of sniffling … still, though, I wanted something hot and soupy, so I made a pot of tomato cream soup today. Turned out pretty good, though I will make some adjustments next time.


  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
  • handful of sun-dried tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (mine had basil)
  • about 1 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • dash soy sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 vegetable broth cubes
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • scant 1/4 tub of tofutti cream cheese
  • 1 cup unsweetened mimic cream


  1. Sautee onion, garlic and dried tomatoes in some olive oil.
  2. Put canned tomatoes, pizza sauce, soy sauce, water, vegetable cubes and margarine in a stock pot. Add cooked onion, garlic and tomatoes.
  3. Heat to a boil and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat, blend with an immersion blender.
  5. Add cream and cream cheese, continue to blend until smooth.
  6. Serve hot.



  • Next time,  I will decrease the mimic cream … mimic cream has a flavor that I don’t really like and 1 cup is too much, in this recipe. I’ll probably go for 1/3 cup and make up the difference with broth.
  • I will probably decrease the cream cheese a bit, too.
  • I may add some cooked potato for thickener, and experiment with adding a sort of roux, as many recipes online call for flour.
  • With a few tweaks, this could definitely become a go-to meal for sick soup. And no chickens have to die.



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Okra Eggplant Curry

Posted by trktos on 12-September-2010

Had a really yummy Indian dinner tonight … no photo, though – maybe I’ll snap one of the leftovers. But honestly, it wasn’t much to look at. It was tasty enough, however, that I’m sitting here to type it up and will plan to cook it again. (Makes me sad that it’s such a rarity to find decent looking fresh okra here.)

I started with about 8 to 9 ounces of okra. I cut their heads and tails off, sliced on a diagonal and simmer in water plus about 3 tbsp vinegar (which is supposed to reduce the slime). Simmered maybe 5 minutes? Okra was crisp but edible when I drained it.

Whole spice mix:

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp corriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

Heat seeds (don’t burn them) in 3 tbsp olive oil, in a covered pan.

Powdered spice mix:

  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp amchur powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Make a paste of the powdered spices with a little water.


  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled, cubed, salted, rinsed, squeezed
  • 8 ounce cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced
  • 2 small, birdseye-like peppers, diced
  • maybe 1 tsp micro-planed ginger
  • simmered okra

After heating whole spices in oil for a few minutes, add onion, garlic, green onions, peppers and ginger. Add paste of powdered spices. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently.

Add tomatoes and eggplant. I had to add maybe 2-3 tbsp water, to cook at a bit higher heat.

When eggplant is nearly done, add okra.

Cook until all veggies are done, according to your taste.


  • Improvised from this recipe, and this recipe. (Neither of which call for eggplant … I just didn’t have very much okra. But I did have an eggplant that needed to be cooked.
  • Next time, I will add more powdered spices for this amount of vegetables. I will probably add an additional teaspoon of paprika and garam masala.  I may add some mustard powder, too. And more birdseye peppers!

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Eastern NC Porkless BBQ

Posted by trktos on 23-May-2010

About three summers ago, we made ourselves a clay pot smoker (pretty much just like this one). Here are some photos of ours in action last year. It’s worked really well for us, although we’ve only used it 3 times.

We got an early jump on things this year, though, so maybe we’ll use it more than once this summer. (And I’m sure we’ll look at this post then – note to future selves – smoker temperature between 200 and 210 degrees!)

We used the same pork seitan recipe that we used the first year. Complete with Eastern NC vinegar-based bbq sauce, homemade buns and homemade coleslaw (recipes below). Absolutely delicious!!!

Creamy Coleslaw (based on this recipe)

  • 1 small/medium green cabbage (shredded yielded my about 1lb, 12 ounces)
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 14 tbsp vegan mayonaise (2 tbsp shy of 1 cup – go ahead, use a cup and slightly generous measures of mustard, vinegar and agave – there certainly wasn’t an over-abundane of sauce.)
  • about 2/3 tbsp spicy mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp agave
  • dash black pepper
  • about 1/4 tsp salt
  • celery and mustard seeds

Eastern NC Vinegar BBQ Sauce (based on this recipe)

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • pinch chipolte chili powder

Gently heat on stovetop to dissolve sugar. Best made a day in advance.

Hamburger Buns (based on this recipe)

  • 2 1/4 cups warm water plus 1/4 cup Better Than Milk Powder
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine, melted
  • 4 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour

Bun instruction:

  1. Proof yeast for about 5 minutes.
  2. Knead dough in bread mixer for a few minutes, adding flour if needed but leaving slightly wet dough.
  3. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Dump dough out onto floured surface, kneading in more flour by hand until dough won’t stick to fingers. (I work in more whole wheat flour.
  5. Form rolls (I made about 16?), spacing out in two 9*13 greased pans.
  6. Let rolls rise for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  8. Put buns in oven, turn temperature down to 375.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and leave buns in oven for another 10 minutes or so.
  10. Remove pans from oven, flip buns with spatula and cover pans with foil or a towel – the steam will soften the bottoms so they aren’t crunchy.

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Spinach Mushroom and Tofu Pie

Posted by trktos on 21-March-2010

I’m not really sure where I got this recipe … it’s based, partly, on a mushroom pie recipe that’s an old stand-by here (copied from a cookbook whose title has been forgotten). I kind of hate to post savory pie recipes here because Evin’s in charge of the crust and for that, I don’t really have a recipe. So I have to say “use your favorite pizza dough recipe, enough to make a double crust” while knowing that most people don’t have a “favorite pizza dough recipe” … oh well. To cover this amount of filling, a little over 3 cups of flour was used in the crust. If the filling was halved, this would probably fit nicely in a normal-sized, deep-dish pie plate.


  • 16 ounces spinach, chopped
  • 16 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • ~ 10 sun-dried tomato halves, diced
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 1/3 cup liquid (unsweetened, unflavored soymilk is nice)
  • 2 tsp marmite
  • 2 vegetable cubes
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp curry
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • dash nutritional yeast
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • pizza dough for double crust, use a recipe that calls for about 3.5 cups flour
  • One block extra-firm tofu, prepared (see notes).


  1. Prepare pizza dough. Roll out into two circles. Line plate with one circle. Keep other for top.
  2. Sautee garlic, onions, sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil. After a few minutes, add mushrooms.
  3. Warm water or soymilk and dissolve marmite, tomato paste and finely chopped vegetable cubes.
  4. Mix together bread crumbs, walnuts and remaining spice ingredients. Set aside.
  5. Add tomato/’milk mix to mushrooms.
  6. Add spinach and heat until wilted.
  7. Stir in bread crumbs/spices.
  8. Mix in tofu.
  9. Pour filling into prepared crust.
  10. Bake in preheated 450 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.


  • I usually prepare tofu by cutting it into about half-inch cubes and cooking it, dry, in a non-stick pan until all its water has cooked out and it is beginning to stick to the pan. Then I add some oil and soy sauce. After the liquid heats up, I throw in some nutritional yeast, garlic and onion powder and some black pepper. Stir to coat and heat through for a minute or so.

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What’s for dinner? Palak …

Posted by trktos on 27-February-2010

So, we had spinach that needed to be eaten … we hadn’t had palak in a while, so I made some (about twice as much as the linked recipe) … only I forgot – Evin doesn’t really like it. Now I have leftover palak for, like, a month. Maybe it’s time to try some naan?

Anyway, this is super-flavorful and I like it … ymmv, I suppose.

Posted in 0: Recipes, indian, spices, flavors, spicy, spinach, vegetables | Comments Off on What’s for dinner? Palak …