Wednesday, June 30, 2010


mm-mm-mm. Shepherd's Pie has come a long way since the late 1800's when it was filled with leftover roasted meats. It has always been topped with mashed potatoes ever since potatoes were considered an edible affordable vegetable for the poor. This is what I call fabulous gourmet vegan food. Try not to eliminate the wine.

I have replaced the milk/cream with soymilk and water from potatoes and replaced the butter with olive oil. I also eliminated the celery root as it is hard to find, and replaced it with some browned shallots, garlic, parsnips, and celery. Stew and potato mixture can be made one day ahead (reserve additional potato water) and chilled separately. Reheat potato mixture slowly in a microwave. Bring stew to a simmer over low heat before topping with warm potato mixture. Broil as instructed.

Serves 4

Cook time: 1 hour

1 cup pearl onions (at least 10)
4 tbs olive oil, divided
1 package Gardein Beefless Tips, rinsed*
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts)
halved lengthwise, sliced 1/2" thick, washed
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 medium carrots, cut into 3/4" pcs
2 medium parsnips, cut into 3/4" pcs
1/3 tbs dried thyme
1/3 tbs chopped dried rosemary
1/3 bottle (a little less) full-bodied red wine such as
Burgundy or Cotes du Rhone
1/2 tbs all-purpose flour
2 cups hot rich vegetable stock**
1 tsp dried parsley

1-1/2 lbs (approx) Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled and
cut into 2" pcs.
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped

Defrost Gardein, rinse, cut pieces in half, cover and put

Blanch pearl onions in a 2-qt saucepan of boiling water
for 2 minutes. Drain and cool in iced water to stop
cooking process. Peel onions, trim, leaving root ends

Heat 1-1/2 tbs oil in pot over medium heat. Add leeks
and 1/8 tsp of salt, cover and cook until softened about
6 mins, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently until almost
golden and fragrant, about 2 mins.

Add mushrooms and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, covered,
stirring occasionally, until they begin to give off some
liquid, about 5 mins,

Add carrots, parsnips,, thyme, and rosemary and cook
covered, stirring occasionally, until veggies are just
tender, about 10-12 mins. Transfer veggies to bowl.

Add wine to pot and boil until reduced to about 1 cup

While wine reduces, make a "beurre manie"*** by
stirring together 1-1/2 tbs oil and flour in a small bowl to form
a paste.

Add stock to wine and bring to a brisk simmer. Whisk in "beurre
manie" then simmer, whisking occasionally until thickened
slightly, 3-5 mins.

Add Gardein, pearl onions, and veggie mixture to pot and simmer,
covered, 20 mins (approx). Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

Boil potatoes until soft.

Saute garlic, shallots, parsnip, and celery until golden.
Mash together with cooked potatoes, salt, and pepper, some soy
milk and some reserved cooking water. Mashed potato mixture
should be solid enough to form a topping over the stew.

Add stew to a 2" deep baking dish (approx. 3 qt). Spoon potato
mixture over stew and spread evenly to cover. Broil about 3
inches from heat until top is starting to get golden, about 5-8

Recipe from Gourmet, 2009

*The original recipe called for seitan, but I used Gardein. I think
it has more flavor.
**I like to use Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base. It is dark,
and rich. Comes in a glass jar.
***Beurre Manie is usually made with butter but I used oil instead.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


This is a nice switch from tomato bruschetta or typical olive tapenade. It is tasty, crunchy, and refreshing.

Makes eight 1/4 cup servings.

Total time: 30 minutes

2 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 cup finely diced celery (3 ribs)
1 cup finely chopped pitted green olives (5 ounces)
2 tbs capers, chopped
2 tbs chopped mint*
Freshly ground pepper

In a small skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic and cook over
moderate heat until golden. Let the oil cool, then discard the

Transfer the oil to a bowl and add the celery, olives, capers and
mint. Toss, season with pepper and serve.

Recipe from Food & Wine, July 2009

*Mint is not easily found in supermarkets and I prefer dried
mint over fresh mint as it is stronger tasting. The only strong
mint I have found was at Middle Eastern grocery stores. And
don't forget the following: 1 tbs fresh herb = 1/3 tbs dried.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


During Indian month, I cooked many interesting Indian dishes I had never heard of. This was one of only a few that I enjoyed. What I liked about it was that there was a vegan crepe. Rava dosas are savory crisp-edged crepes popular in South India. It didn't taste like a real crepe, but I think with some tweeking I can get it to taste similar to a French crepe. These dosas can bill filled with any combination of veggies, and perhaps fruits. Recipe contains lots of ingredients, but was pretty easy to make. There are also many steps, which are really simple, but definitely read through before starting. Don't over-fill dosas or all the veggies will spill out when eating.

Serves 4

Active time: 40 min
Total Time: 1 hr (Most of the cook time is from cooking veggies in increments)

1-1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
1/3 cup dried grated unsweetened coconut
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 (3") fresh jalapeno, coarsely chopped (include seeds)
1 (2-1/2") piece peeled ginger , coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tbs curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-3/4 cups water, divided
1 large onion, chopped (3 cups)
1 (15-19oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen peas (DO NO THAW)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups water
Vegetable oil for brushing

1. Peel potatoes and cut into 1-1/2 pcs. Transfer to a bowl and
cover with cold water.
2. Toast coconut in a 12" skillet over medium heat, stirring until
golden. Transfer to bowl and wipe out skillet.
3. Toast cumin seeds in skillet over medium heat, shaking until
fragrant and just a shade darker. Transfer to another small
bowl. Reserve skillet.
4. Puree jalapeno, ginger, and garlic in a blender with curry
powder, cinnamon, turmeric, oil, 1/4 cup water, and 1 tsp salt
until smooth. Transfer puree to skillet and cook over medium-
high heat, stirring until thickened., about 1 minute.
5. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to
soften, about 8 minutes.
6. Drain potatoes, then add to onion mixture with cumin seeds
and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes
are barely tender, about 10 minutes.
7. Add chickpeas and remaining 1-1/2 cups water, scraping up
any brown bits, then briskly simmer, covered, until potatoes are
tender, about 15-20 minutes.
8. Add peas and cook, covered, until just tender, about 3
minutes. Remove from heat and stir in toasted coconut and

1. Whisk flours, cumin seeds, salt, and water in a bowl.
2. Generously brush a 12" non-stick skillet with oil and heat
over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Pour 1/2 cup
batter into skillet, swirling until bottom is coated. Cook,
undisturbed, until dosa is set and edges are golden.
3. Flip using a rubber spatula and cook dosa until underside
is golden in spots. Transfer to a plate. Continue stacking and
covering loosely with foil to keep warm.

To serve, spoon masala filling into dosas.

Recipe from Gourmet, November 2009

Friday, June 18, 2010


This is a simple and easy dip to make. I'm not a lover of dill, but I do like it in some foods. And like most dips, this can be used as a spread for sandwiches. This recipe was on the inside of the box of veggie burgers that I used to eat years ago. They were called Mudpie Vegetable Patties.

1 lb tofu
1 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp marjoram
3/4 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil

Blend or beat until smooth. Let set a minimum of 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


There are hundreds of dipping sauces, but the one I used with my spring rolls is as follows:

1/3 cup hoisin sauce*
2 tbs chunky peanut butter
2 tbs water (or more to desired consistency and taste)

Stir together hoisin sauce, peanut butter and water.

(Original recipe was from a different type of spring roll which called
for 2 tbs of pickling liquid which I eliminated because it contained
vinegar, lime, and jalapeno peppers which was leftover from the
mixed veggies and I wanted a sweeter sauce)

Recipe: Gourmet, May 2009

*I am not sure if this sauce is always vegan, but the one I used was
and I purchased it at Whole Foods or Publix.


Don't you just love these delicate little rolls. It was so exciting 20 years ago to find a Thai Restaurant in North Miami Beach that served vegan spring rolls. Now, 20 years later I have discovered how easy they are to make and the many different ways to make them. In their simplicity a feeling of great artistic accomplishment swept over me. I almost felt like I was creating a living thing, even patting it as such. Talk about anthropomorphizing. Seriously, they are fun to make and delicious to eat.

They can be filled with any type of veggie you like (almost) and they can be eaten fried, baked, or uncooked. I love cabbage in mine and prefer my rolls uncooked. The recipe that follows is how I made them.

Tip: I originally made them with tofu chunks but found that they had to be too big, which made them clumsy and sloppy to eat with the tofu poking through the rice gallettes. I prefer them the typical size found in restaurants.


2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs carrots, shredded
2 tbs onions, chopped
2 tbs celery, fined diced
2 tbs green bell peppers, julienned
2 tbs red bell peppers, julienned
2 tbs cabbage, shredded
1/4 tsp soy sauce
4 spring roll wrappers (These are called Gallettes de Riz/Rice Paper)*

If you plan to bake: preheat oven to 350.

Lightly coat skillet with vegetable oil. Saute garlic briefly and add
carrots,onion, celery, peppers, and cabbage. Add soy sauce and
continue to saute until crisp-tender, about 5 mins. Remove from heat
and let cool.

Place 3 tbs of cooked vegetables in each gallette and roll, tucking
in the sides or not.

If baking, lightly coat baking sheet, as well as rolls, with oil and
bake until lightly brown. If frying, fry until golden brown


Recipe: I don't know how long I have had this newspaper recipe,
but it is from the Asian Sensation's luncheons at the Spa at Doral.

*These can be found at Asian grocery stores and Whole Foods, possibly
supermarkets. You simply place each gallette in a shallow bowl of warm
water and within seconds itsoftens and is ready to add veggies and roll.