Thursday, January 28, 2010


On a Thursday night like this one, many hip Gainesvillains (as in, "Chillin' like a Gainesvillain") head over to the Atlantic for Indie Dance Night. It can be a pretty fun time when you've got the right people to dance with. The last time I was there, my roomies and I were very pleased to take part in a spirited singalong of Miley Cyrus's "Party in the U.S.A." - a song, the DJ announced with a laugh, he was playing "against his better judgment."

But tonight, the ladiez and I are bringin' the party to the Cheetah House. I'm being a little facetious. We're having Internet Café Time in the dining room until one of us puts on a New Boyz song and we practice jerkin'. (That's a dance, y'all.)

Anyway, for dinner, made...

Mom's Easy Cheezy Broccoli Soup
serves 4

1 1/2 cups broccoli, chopped
1/3 cup onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon Tamari sauce
2 1/2 cups veggie broth
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup veganaise

Simmer broccoli and onions in broth, oil and Tamari until tender. Let cool for ten minutes or so and put it in a blender for a minute. Then add the yeast, paprika, veganaise, and s&p to taste.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Who doesn't love pizza?

I've been carb-obsessed lately. Last night, I was very, VERY pleased with the cheesy, cheesy mac that came of my dear friend over at Vegan Pandamonium's recipe. Threw in some kale and it was a deeply satisfying meal.

And toootally foodgasmed over the heavenly scent coming out of my oven tonight: BBQ tempeh, onion and (again) kale pizza on gluten-free crust, boyyyyy!

I've been trying to use up all the chiles in adobo sauce from the can that allowed me to make those BBQ Black-eyed Peas. BBQ is a theme for me, okay? Nothing feeds the soul like it.

BBQ Pizza
serves 4

1 box pizza crust mix
15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped (and a lil' bit of sauce)
half a lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 packet pure Stevia
1/2 cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 tablespoon & 1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon molasses
various veggies/fake cheeses/fake meats for toppings

Prepare the dough for rolling according to the package directions. I used a gluten-free mix. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a sauce pan over medium heat, put all ingredients starting at the tomato sauce and ending at the molasses. Roll out the dough on an oiled baking sheet, spread the warm sauce onto it, sprinkle all the toppings on and stick it in the oven for 15 minutes.

The kale we used right on top crisped up so nicely. It had such a great flavor all by itself. But the sauce was really where the flavor took over your taste buds. Sweet and spicy in perfect harmony. Another bbq'ed success!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hodge Podge

Okay, I did something bad. I ate all the strawberry ice cream before taking any pictures. So I'm gonna hold off posting that luscious treat until I can provide evidence of its existence. (Don't worry, it won't be long.)

But, surprisingly, lots of other things happened this weekend that I will report on today instead! I guess when one is mostly confined to one's bed for a few days, food, sleep and gentle entertainment are the main concerns one has. Yesterday was deemed (by my lazy, bossy, croup-y self) movie marathon day. Boyfriend indulged me. As for feature films, we watched:

Courtesy of Google Image search!

A strange mix, but all kind of woven together with the theme of "intrigue." Actually, I was audibly frightened at some point during each of these movies. Haha, I'm a baby. Anyway, to my delight, we also got to catch up the last season of the Office.

Today, enVeg, the club I'm president of at school, hosted a vegan potluck!

It was a great spread. In the picture, I can identify a chocolate cake, a fruit-and-nut salad, the pot being passed around as my roommate's very successful version of the BBQ Black-eyed Peas from Vegan Soul Kitchen, and the orange pot in the center as the basic Red Curry I decided to make. No close-ups (gosh, I need to be more diligent in my photo-taking!), but here's the recipe regardless:

Easy Red Curry Potatoes and Spinach
serves 4 (as a full meal)

2 tablespoons oil (coconut, canola, olive...)
2 inches fresh ginger, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 medium-sized potatoes, roughly chopped
1 large bag fresh spinach
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if desired)
1/4 sheet nori
1 1/2 tablespoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos or tamari

Saute the minced ginger and garlic in oil over medium-high heat until very fragrant, though being careful not to burn. Add the potatoes and the curry paste and pepper flakes. Coat the potatoes well. Add the coconut milk and heat through. Plop the spinach on top of everything, cover and wait until partially steamed, so it can be folded in. Crumble the 1/4 sheet of nori into the the mixture, then add the Bragg's. (These two ingredients I just discovered are a fantastic fish sauce replacer!) Cook, covered, until you can stick a fork through the potatoes with ease.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I am once again trying recover from a cold! Jeez! Obviously haven't been taking great care of my body, if I'm relapsing within a week of getting over the last one. I'm devoting this entire weekend to rest and real recovery. So there, cold.

Of course, the world doesn't stop for a cold. Now that I've taken a lil' break from blogging to stay on top of school things, I'm back because I seriously needed some tender lovin' cookin'. Felt inspired to make a traditional Italian four-course meal (antipasti, first-course pasta, second-course salad, dessert), but I kinda lost some steam as the evening wore on. Turned out to be only three. Oh well! We had some delicious fresh bread dipped in olive oil and Herbes de Provence, then my vegan adaptation of penne alla vodka, and something I'm saving for my next post - homemade strawberry ice cream! Actually, in keeping with the theme, I'll call it "gelato." Harhar. Anyway, here's the pasta recipe. It was yummy!

Penne Alla Vodka
serves 4

1 box whole wheat penne
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons vodka (it was in short supply, but it worked!)
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup pignolis
1/4 cup agave nectar

Cook pasta according to directions while you...

Saute the onion and garlic until softened. Add the tomatoes, herbs and vodka and cook on medium-high heat until heated through and soft. Stir in the nooch (nutritional yeast), pignolis (pine nuts), agave and s&p. Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour over da pasta.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Brunch is da best.

It seems like on Sundays and, on long weekends like this one, Mondays, brunch is a welcome inevitability. I lounge around in my jammies until it's just too late in the day for three full meals to be feasible. So on this lovely MLK Day, we made a big ol' skillet of home fries and some quick stove-top ketchup! I am so excited to have found such an easy ketchup alternative, since I really dislike high fructose corn syrup.

Home Fries
serves 4

4 tablespoons canola oil
6-7 medium potatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Heat the oil in a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high. Add the onions and saute until slightly softened. Add the potatoes. Keep turning over the layers throughout the next 20 minutes, but do allow the bottom to begin to brown between tosses. Toss in your thyme, s&p. Test a larger chunk of potato for doneness.

Homemade Ketchup!!!

a slight adaptation of Jae Steele's recipe, serves 4

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch

Place all the ingredients but the tomato sauce and arrowroot in a small saucepan on high heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, stir in the sauce and starch, cover and cook for about 8 minutes.

Scoop some ketchup onto a big pile of potatoes, mix 'em up and EAT.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


This introduction is already long overdue. Readers, meet Vegan Soul Kitchen.

Bryant Terry has seriously accomplished something wonderful with this book. He has captured the essence and incredible flavor of soul food without a single ham hock!

Tonight, I wanted to treat my bf, recently recovered from some nasty mouth surgery, to a home-cooked meal. Because of the rain, we were aiming for something really comforting, so Vegan Soul Kitchen immediately came to mind. Landed on Barbeque Black-Eyed Peas. Great decision.

I've tried a number of Terry's recipes in the past, many of which can be found in this Google Book preview, if you're interested in testing a few. Uncle Don's soup, the Cajun-Creole-spiced tempeh with grits and yellow potato soup are all VERY good. The BBQ recipe is on there, too!

Now, you too may go forth and make soul food.

[edit] Sammi thankfully pointed out that the Google book preview does nottt list the b-ep's, but there are a few good 'uns on there anyway.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Humble little squashies.

Not too much of my own spin on this little dish, but it was tasty and very pretty, so I wanted to post it anyway. I trust in VegNews.

For the roasted squashies, I had three miniature ones from the farmers' market that I wanted to cook in tact, so I hunted down these instructions on the Food and Wine website.

For the wild rice stuffing, VegNews, as usual, knew exactly what to do. Click here for that goodness.

I'll be back soon with more creative things, I promise.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chickpea of the Sea, B

Both my grandmothers were stellar Southern cooks and entertainers. They are the reason I cannot have a guest in the house for more than a minute without offering them something to eat. Actually, my canon of recipes comes largely from those two fantastic women. You'll be learning more about them as time goes on, I'm sure.

Each had her own take on tuna salad, and since I've been experimenting with vegan seafood (faux crab cakes were my first attempt - YUMMMM), I figured I'd give that a shot, too.

The roomies said it tasted just like the real thang! Feel free to substitute the salad mixture for your own grandmother's. Here is what I like to call...

The Chickpea of the Sea Melt
makes 5 melts

1 25-oz. can chickpeas, drained
half sheet nori (sushi paper)
2 cups water
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 a red onion, chopped
a handful of grapes, halved (optional)
1/2 cup Veganaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
s&p to taste
Earth Balance
vegan cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
5 slices of bread

Combine the drained chickpeas and water in a pot and crumble the half sheet of nori into it. Simmer this mixture until the water is absorbed, then set aside to cool.

Pour the cooled chickpea mixture into a bowl and mash with a fork so that no whole chickpeas remain in tact. Add the celery, red onion, and grapes (if using), then fold 'em in. Dump in the Veganaise, mustard, s&p and mix well.

Heat a daub of Earth Balance in a skillet until melted. Grill the bread with a scoop of salad and cheese (enough to cover) on top until cheese melts.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Temp Family Dinner

My roommates and I have dinner together practically every night of the week. I love to cook and they love to eat, so any uneven distribution of house-ly work comes out in the (dish)wash! Last night, we were thrilled to have two extra friends dining at Chez Cheetah. We settled on a nice big lasagna.

This thing was so good, I obviously couldn't wait to take a picture before I ate a piece and went back for seconds. For dessert, one friend brought incredibly delicious Liz Lovely cookies, and the other a selection of yummy fruit. Turned out to be a really fun meal, book-ended by stimulating rounds of Chatroulette. (This site will apparently take over your life if you let it. I'm beginning to see that.)

Triple-Layer Lasagna

serves 8

1 package lasagna noodles
3 cups mixed vegetables, chopped
nutritional yeast (for sprinkling on top)

[Red sauce]
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 32-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons red wine
1 1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
s&p (to taste)

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until softened and fragrant. Pour in your tomatoes, then add the spices, wine and agave. Heat through, tasting along the way to adjust seasonings to your own liking.

[Cashew-Pignoli Ricotta]
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup soy milk
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon salt

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until fairly smooth.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Boil one package of lasagna noodles according to package directions while you steam the chopped veggies of your choice (we happened to have mushrooms, carrots and leftover beet greens on hand) for around five minutes.

In a 9x13 inch pan, layer like this: sauce, pasta, ricotta, veggies, sauce, pasta, ricotta, veggies, pasta, sauce, and finally, LOTS of nutritional yeast. Bake covered with foil for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and stick it back in the oven for another 15 minutes, until nice and g-b (golden-brown) on top.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Wintery Vittles

I can't wait to beat this cough and sniffles so I can ride my bike everywhere again. All these pictures of stylish European women riding through the snow make me jealous. But while confined to the house between classes, I can think of nothing but my next meal. This I will choose to view as something utterly wonderful.

At the farmers' market this week, we picked up some beautiful beets and turnips, along with a variety of other veggies that should be popping up here sooner or later. As soon as I laid eyes on those tasty little root veggies, I knew they were destined for an oven-roasting.

Pictured below is one of my favorite dishes in the whole wide world of eating. So simple, but bursting with roasty-toasty flavor. I first made it with my mom, and spent the whole meal foodgasming. There are a couple variations on the vegetables that I have included for your own experimentation. Paired with French bread and aioli, it exceeds all expectations.

Root Vegetable Tartine with Garlic Aioli
serves 4

3 medium beets
2 large turnips (or 4-5 fingerling potatoes)
2 medium sweet potatoes (or 4 medium carrots)
1 medium sweet onion
olive oil
fresh thyme (or rosemary)

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Roughly chop all the veggies, then toss them onto a baking sheet. Coat with olive oil, ample thyme or rosemary (whichever you have available), and s&p to your liking. Roast for 40 minutes.

5 cloves garlic, peeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
4 tablespoons vegan cream cheese

In a Magic Bullet, blender or food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Slather a slice of bread with aioli and pile on the veggies.

Just so you know, there's a slight chance of snow flurries in Gainesville tomorrow. WHAT?! Yep. Snow in Florida. Ain't that nice?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cold and cold

Gainesville is around 30 degrees outside (darn cold for Florida!) and I am a snivelling mess of congestion. Gotta work on getting better quick, before school really starts to go nuts. To this end, I threw together an ever-so-comforting lentil soup.

At the heart of this soup is a mirepoix, the fancy French term for onions, carrots and celery chopped and sauteed in oil or butter - a fantastic place for any savory dish to begin. Recipe courtesy of Mom, bien sûr, so in lieu of a picture, here's a video tutorial from my momma and her friend, Dee. These industrious ladies launched a Youtube cooking show to prove they could make truly delicious vegan food that even their omnivorous husbands could enjoy.

Tender Lovin' Lentils
serves 4

olive oil
1 medium onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 bag green lentils
32 oz. vegetable broth
1 bunch parsley
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

Heat a large pot on medium-high. Give it one or two turns of olive oil, then add onion. Saute until onions are soft. Add the lentils, coat them with oil, then toast for a couple minutes. Add the celery and carrots and continue to saute. Pour in the vegetable broth, and toss in the parsley and tomatoes.

Crank the heat to high. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

[EDIT] This is how cold it is here:

Photo courtesy of Hard Work

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back to it.

Semi-unfortunately, school starts tomorrow, so I'm relishing my last few hours of winter-y freedom. I made a very simple French-inspired dinner for my almost-brother, Tommy, who escorted me back to Gainesville yesterday evening and is visiting for a day or so.

We ate this lovely salad composed of spring mix, Florida avocado, green apple and pepitas with a...

Red Wine Vinaigrette

olive oil
red wine vinegar
agave nectar
garlic, minced
Herbes de Provence

The oil and vinegar are the main components of this dressing, with the rest of the ingredients added to your particular taste. I know this is a rather vague recipe, but it's pretty hard to mess up. Just eyeball it.

Herbes de Provence were the secret ingredient of the evening - they're my new favorite. I also sprinkled some onto thick slices of fresh, crusty bread that I brushed with olive oil, then tossed into the oven at 400 degrees for a few minutes. REALLY good.

This dinner happens to precede a viewing of the film, Metropolitan, what I've read is a witty comedy about a kid getting mixed up with some NYC debutantes. Me and my roomies are about to crack open a bottle of red, cuddle up on the couch, and attempt to forget how early we have to wake up in the morning. Laterrr.

Friday, January 1, 2010

So much new!

Today is the first of the year. It is my twentieth year of life and it's high time I blogged about it. I am in search of the stuff that feeds my soul - good food, yes, but also knowledge, music, nature and conversation. I'm going to try my best to fill this blog with what I find. And try to make it interesting.

It's my Southern New Year's tradition (and my mother's and her mother's and her mother's before that) to fill up on Hoppin' John (black-eyed peas and rice), collards and cornbread, respectively signifying good luck, good fortune and, well, the cornbread just tastes good. Mom and I made this meal together today, only our version was completely vegan. Not to mention incredibly delicious.

Here's how we did it:

Hoppin' John
a Real Simple mag adaptation of beans n' rice, serves 4

[Dirty rice]
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
sea salt
1 cup white basmati rice
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and salt, cook until softened. Add the rice and toast it for about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chilies and 1 1/4 cups water, then bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and let it all simmer (no peeking!) for 10 minutes before stirring once. Cover again until all the water is absorbed - about another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave it covered for 5 minutes.

[Black-eyed peas]
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 15-oz. cans of black-eyed peas, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 scallions, sliced

Heat up the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until softened. Add the beans, oregano, 1/2 cup water and s&p to taste. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are thoroughly heated. Stir in the scallions, fluff that rice and get to eatin'!

Tangy Collards
serves 4

1 bag frozen collard greens
1 small onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 apple cider vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar (or other sweetener)

Saute the onion until tender in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for another two minutes. Mix in the vinegar and sweetener, then bring to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to simmer for 10 minutes. If you need more liquid, pour in a few tablespoons of vegetable broth. Add s&p to taste.

Corn Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of yellow corn meal
1/4 cup of maple syrup
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup rice milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon of water
1 small can of whole kernel sweet corn

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease the muffin pan. Mix up the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine the tablespoons of cornstarch and water. Add the rice milk, oil and cornstarch mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Fold in the sweet corn.

Spoon the batter into the pan, then bake 20 to 25 minutes - until a fork stuck into the middle comes out clean.