Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Alla Helgons Dag

Swedish meatballs are something my mother never made from scratch, but we ate a lot of it, thanks to Stouffer's. I sure did love that crap, and didn't realize how much I missed that flavor until I started thinking about recipes for this week.

Swedish Meatballs have a LOT of ingredients going on, but with some shortcuts and Trader Joe's, I was able to pare it down. Lingonberry preserves are missing from this; you are welcome to add them if you'd like, but the only jar I could find was at The Wedge, and that shit cost more than I had in my account. Also, since the meatless meatballs from TJ's are already chock full of bread crumbs, we can skip the whole soaking bread in milk and adding it to the meat part. Blech. So glad I'm vegan. I don't miss that kind of prep work AT ALL.

Vegan Swedish Meatballs
This wasn't my favorite shot, but I'm using it because if you squint, you can see some cuddlin' felines in the upper left.

Swedish Meatlessballs
makes 5 servings

1 large onion, finely chopped
8 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
2 1/2-3 cups hot vegan beef broth (I used 2 Edward & Sons Not-Beef cubes dissolved in boiling water), mixed with a tsp of gravy browner (I picked up some Kitchen Bouquet gravy browner at the supermarket, and it has helped my beef-y recipes out a TON. Totally optional, though)
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 16-oz package meatless meatballs (if you don't have a Trader Joe's, I've seen other brands at the co-op, as well as Whole Foods)
splash wine
2 tbsp pickle juice
6 oz (about half a tub) vegan sour cream
2-3 tbsp fresh minced parsley
mashed potatoes or noodles to serve, if desired

Spray a large, deep skillet with cooking spray or heat a tbsp olive oil. Add onions and mushrooms, and cook until soft. Add a splash of wine to deglaze. Whisk cornstarch into 2 cups broth until dissolved, and add to the pan. Stir, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and cook until gravy thickens. Throw in the meatballs.  Stir, turning the meatballs over until they are heated through. Add more broth if needed. Push the meatballs over to one side of the pan, and stir the sour cream and pickle juice into the gravy. Mix well, and then incorporate the meatballs and remainder of the gravy. Throw in parsley, combine, and serve over mashed potatoes, noodles, or by themselves. 

Don't forget Swedish Fish for dessert!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

First, get a bag of hashbrowns.

I was at Trader Joe's yesterday, looking around at everything, and trying to find ideas. Even with bags of fire roasted peppers and onions, I was still over five ingredients when I came up with stuff. Then I found the answer to all my prayers:


There's a reason this stuff shows up in more than one dish at church potlucks. You can do so much with it! Maybe it's the Minnesota in me, but I suddenly had ideas for all kinds of hot dishes.

Southwestern hashbrown bake

 Southwestern Hashbrown Hotdish
makes 6-8 servings
1 20-oz bag hash brown potatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups salsa
8 oz frozen peppers and onions
1 cup Daiya cheddar shreds, or pepperjack shreds

Preheat oven to 400°

Spray a large cast iron skillet or 9x9 roasting pan with cooking spray. Pour half the bag of hashbrowns in there, and spread them around. Mix the black beans and salsa.  Spread half the bean mixture over the potatoes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Spread the rest of the bean mixture over that, another layer of potatoes, and top with cheese. Bake for 45 minutes, then put under a broiler for ten minutes if the potatoes aren't fully browned.

Italian style:
Instead of black beans and salsa, use seitan or tempeh sausage crumbles and marinara sauce. Use vegan mozzarella cheese.

Breakfast casserole:
Scramble up some tofu with the veggies and layer it in with cheeze and tempeh bacon.

Indian style:
For the veggie layer, use frozen peas and carrots. Throw in some chicken seitan and coconut milk and season with curry powder.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sheri, Sandy, and Sausage.

Today can suck it.

I just found out less than an hour ago that a friend of mine that has been fighting cancer for the last three years is now bracing for what could possibly be the final battle. She is a beautiful, fiery, redheaded vegan with a loving husband and three beautiful children. It's not fair that she has to go through this. You can read her cancer updates here, and please, show her some support!

Sheri loves turtles, so this little guy is here for hugs. Little, gentle hugs.

I'm also stressed out over what's happening out east with the hurricane. My thoughts are with all of my friends that live in the affected areas. I wish I could beam you here right now! Nothing happens here on the prairie.

Because today sucks, I'm glad that I made this last night, so I don't have to bother cooking tonight. I just want to read, drink wine, and check updates. Also, they turned on the heat in my building tonight, and it feels like friggin' Phoenix in here.

Sausage & Pepper Pasta

Spicy Sausage & Pepper Pasta
serves 4

8 oz whole wheat pasta of choice
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tube Gimme Lean sausage (or a package of Upton's Naturals Italian sausage seitan, or a cup of whatever vegan sausage you like)
8 oz frozen mixed peppers and onions
splash red wine
2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup shredded Daiya mozzarella (or other vegan mozzarella)
dash chile pepper flakes

Start cooking the pasta.
In a hot skillet, heat the oil. Tear up the sausage into bite sized chunks, and add to the pan. Cook and stir for about three minutes, using  your spoon to break up the pieces. When it starts to brown, add the frozen veggies. Cook until the veggies start to get crispy around the edges, and the sausage has turned golden brown. Add the wine, and scrape up any browned bits. Cook until the wine has evaporated, and turn off the heat. Stir in spinach and cheeze. Season with chile pepper flakes (I used about a tsp). When the spinach is wilty and the cheeze is melty, toss the whole thing with the hot, cooked pasta.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Winding down...

I figured that for the last four days of MoFo, I'd fulfill a request for some quick and easy recipes, since I apparently intimidate with the number of ingredients I use (obviously these people have never seen any of Isa's books). Also, I'm ready for this month to be over so I can go back to Engine 2 and get rid of my MoFo pounds, which I'm sure have accumulated.

I'll try to stick to a rule of five ingredients for these, with the exception of water, oil, broth, and simple condiments. This one, I just whipped up in almost no time at all. Tip: Trader Joe's is AWESOME for quick and easy recipes.

Mock Duck Noodle Bowl

Mock Duck Noodle Bowl
makes 4 servings

8 oz rice noodles
1 tsp oil (I used sesame, but vegetable will do)
10 oz canned mock duck, drained and chopped
8 oz frozen bell pepper mix (half a package of the Melange from Trader Joe's)
1 onion, chopped
3 tbsp bottled peanut sauce (San-J makes a good one, if not, check labels)
hot sauce, to taste
cilantro, chopped green onions, and chopped peanuts for garnish, if desired

Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain, rinse in cold water. Set aside.
In a wok or skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Throw in the veggies and mock duck. Stir fry until most of the water has evaporated (those frozen veggies carry a lot of it), yet everything is still somewhat crisp. Remove from heat. Add peanut sauce, and a little hot sauce. Taste for heat. Toss with noodles and serve garnished with cilantro, green onions, and peanuts.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cheezy Apple Roll-ups

This is a recipe that you'd find in one of those housewife magazines. I have friends that feel they need to confess because they occasionally buy Real Simple. Seriously? I'll see your Real Simple, and raise you a Taste of Home, Southern Living, and Woman's goddamn Day. I love those things. Maybe it's the Minnesotan in me that was fascinated with Grandma's baking off the back of the box, but those rags are great for fun ideas. This is a good one for kids, a football appetizer, or to have on the side with a bowl of one of the soups I made this month.

This reminds me of apple pie with a slice of cheese on it, which is SO GOOD. 

Apple & cheeze roll-ups

Cheezy Apple Roll-ups
makes 8

1 tube Pillsbury Crescent dough (it's vegan!)
1/4 recipe sharp cheddar from Artisan Vegan Cheese, before it's firmed up, or 3/4 cup Daiya cheddar shreds, or whatever vegan cheddar cheese you like
1 apple, cored and finely diced
1 tbsp margarine
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a heavy saucepan, heat the margarine. Sprinkle the diced apple with cinnamon, and cook over medium heat until golden. Set aside.
Roll out the Crescent dough, and separate. Spread cheeze on each triangle, and dot with apple bits. Roll up from the wide end, as shown.


This picture blows, but you get the idea.

 Bake on a cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for a few minutes, and serve.

Friday, October 26, 2012

More soup for you!

Checking the labels on this blog, I see that soup is something that I definitely make the most. Well, since most of the posts I do are during VeganMoFo, and it's usually October or November (which in Minnesota, means chilly), I want soup. It's easy, filling, you can make a lot of it and reheat it, and it's pretty forgiving, unlike desserts and baked goods. Too much salt? Throw in a potato.

Kramer: A hot bowl of mulligatawny would hit the spot.
Elaine: Mulligatawny?
Kramer: Yes, it's a delightful Hindu concoction simmered to perfection by one of the great soup artisans in the modern era.
Elaine: Who, the Soup Nazi?
Kramer: He's not a Nazi, Elaine. He just happens to be a little eccentric. Most geniuses are. 

I was going to make this during Iron Chef week, but never got around to it. Since there are apples in it, I could still fit it in this month under apple week! It's a vegan version of Emeril's recipe, but with soy curls (or whatever vegan chick'n you like), and a few minor differences.

Vegan Mulligatawny

OMG, this picture sucks 800 ways, but every other shot looked too white.

makes 6-8 servings

1 tbsp olive oil or margarine  
1 cup soy curls, hydrated in not chicken broth, or two cups vegan chick'n like Gardein, or seitan
2 tsp garam masala
1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, cut down the middle, and diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup red lentils
8 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp fresh black pepper 
salt to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked rice or quinoa
1 14-oz can light coconut milk
3 cups fresh baby spinach
ground toasted  cashews, cilantro, and sultanas (golden raisins) to garnish

In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Sear the hydrated soy curls or seitan. Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside. In the same pan, throw in the onion, celery, carrots, ginger, and garlic. Cook five minutes. Add the zucchini, squash, and potato. Cook another three minutes. Stir in the apples, lentils, stock, and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for ten minutes, or until the potato is cooked. Season to taste. Remove from heat. Stir in rice, spinach, and coconut milk. Serve garnished with ground cashews, cilantro, and sultanas.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Some cheese with that whine

Holy hell, I need a vacation. From my job, from my kitchen, you name it. My body hurts. I have a deep cut on my left index finger thanks to a work box cutter (Medic! Worker's comp!), various burns on my right hand, and swollen feet. Also, I missed the bus and was unable to pick up fancy crackers before work tonight, and the fanciest crackers we have at the job are Triscuits. I wasn't about to eat brie with Triscuits.

Whoa. Brie?

Vegan Brie en Croute

Yes. There is brie up in this MoFo thanks to Miyoko Schinner and her awesome book: Artisan Vegan Cheese. I made a batch of rejuvelac two weeks ago, and have been making vegan cheeses ever since. I just started a second batch of rejuvelac just because I need it ready. Dry heaving when pouring it out is WORTH IT.

Vegan brie en croute with apple compote

Vegan Brie en Croute with Apple Compote
serves 5 as an appetizer

1/2 recipe air-dried brie from Artisan Vegan Cheese. When forming the cheese, spread in 8-ounce ramekins, so it comes out in wheels. You'll use one wheel for this. Slice it horizontally.
1 sheet puff pastry, rolled out and cut into a 10" circle
2 small apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced (most compotes call for Golden Delicious, but any juicy, flavorful apple will do).
1 tbsp margarine
1/4 cup sugar
pinch cardamom
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375°

In a saucepan, heat the margarine until melted. Add apples and cook about 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the sugar, cardamom, and vanilla. Cook about ten minutes more, stirring frequently, over low heat. Pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature.

Place 1/2 a cheese wheel in the center of the puff pastry, on a sheet of parchment. Spoon half the apple compote over it. Place the other half wheel on top of that, and cover with the rest of the compote. Bring the pastry up and pleated it, so the top of the pastry looks like a drawstring bag and pinch to seal. Make sure it's sealed really well, so it doesn't explode like mine did. It's totally cool if the apple compote peeks out of the top. Brush with non-dairy milk.

Place cheese and parchment on a baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes. Serve with fancy water crackers, baguette, or in my case, cheap french bread from Jimmy John's.

Vegan Brie en croute with apple compote

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hot soup on a hot night

Okay, so it's not hot. It's currently 52° outside here in Minneapolis. However; up on the third floor, 'tis sweltering. Granted, the oven was turned on the minute I stepped in the door at 4:00pm today, and the kitchen has been abuzz. I was going to make two things tonight to make up for my absence yesterday, and then I remembered that no one reads my blog, anyway, and I probably wasn't missed. Jerks.

Anyway, back to the heat. The temperature is supposed to plummet in the next day or so, so leftovers of this soup will be welcomed. Not that it isn't welcome now; it's hot, spicy, and sweet. It's just what will hit the spot after today.

Red Curry Squash & Apple Soup

Red Curry Squash & Apple Soup
makes about 8 servings

1 medium or 2 small acorn squashes (or 1 butternut, or whatever winter squash you like), enough to make 4 cups of mashed squash
1 tbsp olive oil  
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced (I used one Granny Smith, and one Braeburn for no particular reason)
6 cups vegetable stock
2 heaping tbsp red curry paste
1 tbsp chili paste or sriracha
1 tbsp tamari
salt & pepper
1 14oz can light coconut milk
cilantro and toasted pumpkin seeds to garnish

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut squash(es) in half, scoop out the guts and seeds. Place the halves in a roasting pan with a half inch of water, and roast for 40 minutes to an hour, until soft. Remove from oven, and cool. Scoop the squash out of the skin, and mash well or puree.

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the oil. Cook the onion, celery, and garlic in the oil until soft. Add the apples and cook for a few minutes over low heat until it starts to caramelize. Add squash, stock, curry paste (I whisk it into a little broth before adding), chili paste, and tamari. Stir well. Salt and pepper to taste. Add more heat, if desired. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about ten minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut milk. Serve garnished with pumpkin seeds and cilantro.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Apple of my ennui

I am kind of over MoFo. I think next year, if I do it at all, I'll shoot for 20 days instead of all of them. I've only missed one day due to Iron Chef prep, and I almost skipped today because I feel like a WHOLE ASS and I wasn't in the mood to do anything. But, I did.

Apple cinnamon coffee cake
Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

So, does this mean this week's theme is apples? I guess so. I have four apples in my kitchen, so I suppose I need to get some more and figure out what to do. Oh, and I have a wheel of vegan brie drying, so I'll do something with that. I was going to do cheeses this week, but planned poorly, and a lot of those things take DAYS to make. Eff that.

This cake turned out too moist, and not very sweet. I have adjusted my measurements.
Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
 makes one 8" cake

1 stick margarine (1/2 cup)
2 flax eggs (1 tbsp+2 tbsp water=1 flax egg), beaten
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, divided
3/4 cup soy yogurt or vegan sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced

Crumb topping:
1 tbsp margarine

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour

Preheat oven to 375°. Spray an 8" round or square cake pan with baking spray, or lightly grease with margarine.

Cream together the margarine, flax eggs, 1 cup of sugar, yogurt, and extracts. Sift in the dry ingredients. Mix until moistened. Fold in the apples. Spread half the batter in the pan. Sprinkle the other 1/2 cup brown sugar over it. Spread in the last of the batter, so the brown sugar is a layer. 

In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients with your fingers to make crumbs. Spread over the top of the batter. Bake 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, and the top feels firm.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

As Autumn as it gets

If a perfect summer day includes a beach, ice cream, and hot shirtless dudes, today was the Autumn equivalent. It started off with brunch at a friend's house: pumpkin apple cinnamon muffins, pumpkin pancakes, and tofu scramble with Field Roast apple sage sausages.

After we ate, we headed out to Afton Apple Orchards. It was slim pickings (literally), as most of the apples we found were past their prime. We opted out of jumping the hayride out to the "good" trees, so we picked out pumpkins instead. After that, we headed inside to buy fresh cider.

Tonight I came up with a delicious Autumn side, but I'm eating it for dinner by itself. I've never tried delicata squash before, and I'm now adding it to my favorites. This came together really quickly, and will make an appearance at Thanksgiving.

Delicata with cider cream sauce

Roasted Delicata Squash with Cider Cream Sauce
serves 6 as a side

1 cup apple cider
1 cup cashew cream or soy creamer
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp chipotle or cayenne powder
1 delicata squash, washed
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 small onion, sliced into thin half moons
salt & pepper
6 strips tempeh bacon (I used the Turtle Island Smoky Maple ones, because they are the BOMB)
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 tbsp maple syrup
dash cayenne

First, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, bring the cider to a boil and reduce by almost half (about 15 minutes). Whisk in the cream, mustard, and chipotle powder. Keep stirring, lowering heat slightly. Keep an eye on it, stirring frequently, until the whole thing is reduced to about a cup.

Preheat oven to 375°

Cut the ends off the squash. Cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the guts and seeds. Then cut into 1/2 inch slices, widthwise. Toss the squash slices with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and generous twists of pepper. Lay the slices on a baking sheet covered in parchment. Roast for 15 minutes. Flip the slices and roast an additional 15, or until they are tender (you can eat the skin!).

In a medium skillet, heat the other tbsp oil. Cook the onion and tempeh until the onion starts to turn brown. Throw in the walnuts and maple syrup. Toss to coat. Cook for about three more minutes. Serve over squash with the cider cream sauce.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

And the winner is...

Today was Iron Chef at Animal Rights Coalition. I worked really hard all week, spent an outrageous amount of money, and ended up making The Beast. Some of you may remember that I've made it before, and it has always been a hit at Thanksgiving dinner. It turned out to be even more delicious with the addition of a vanilla-cardamom cranberries layer. Those who have experienced the Beast had plenty of helpings, which (almost) made up for the fact that none of my friends showed up. I'm not too worried about being all sour grapes about it on here, because none of them read my blog either. I need new friends.

So, I forgot my camera, but got a few shots with my shitty phone.

A blown circuit made the crockpot pointless, but despite being lukewarm, I ran out of extra gravy pretty fast. Well, and people were doing shots of it.

So, who won? My girl Kaylyn!!! I became her vegan mentor a ways back, and have watched her grow into a beautiful vegan flower. So proud of you!

Now, since you're all dying for the recipe...

The Beast
makes one deep dish 9x9" casserole, or one 9x13" (single layer)

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp margarine
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
couple dashes white pepper
1/2 tsp granulated onion, or toasted dried onion
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1 can pumpkin puree
2 or more cups vegetable broth
salt, to taste

Whisk the oil, margarine, and cornstarch into a roux over low heat. Add everything else, and slowly pour in the broth, stirring, until thickened and the consistency you want. Remove from heat. Salt to taste.

3 or 4 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tbsp margarine
unsweetened plain non-dairy milk
roasted garlic, if desired
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp dried rosemary

Boil the potatoes until fork-tender. Pass through a ricer or use a masher like this one so you don't get gummy potatoes (I also like it a little chunky). Stir in margarine until melted. Slowly add milk, whipping the potatoes to a spreadable consistency. Add some garlic, and rosemary. Stir.

1/2 of a 12-oz bag bread cubes for stuffing (I mixed sage & onion with cornbread), or homemade 
2 tbsp margarine
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped celery
any additions you like in stuffing: hazelnuts, almonds, dried cranberries, apples, etc
1 tsp poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, or whatever you'd like to add if using plain bread cubes
1-1.5 cups hot vegetable broth 

Cook the onion, garlic, and celery over medium heat in the margarine until soft. Pour over the bread cubes. Slowly add hot broth and stir until it's moist but not wet. Fold in any add-ins you like.

Soy Curls (if using them; you can also use Tofurky or seitan for this layer):
1 bag Butler's Soy Curls
2 cups hot not-chicken broth (I use Edward & Sons)
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Hydrate the curls in a bowl with all the other ingredients for about ten minutes. Drain, and sear in a pan for a couple minutes until brown. Set aside.

1 can whole berry cranberry sauce

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch cardamom

Mix that up in a bowl.

1/2 package Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (or your own homemade puff pastry; one sheet)
non-dairy milk for brushing.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 375°
Spray a deep 9x9" casserole or a 13x9" roasting pan with cooking spray. If using a deep dish, you'll want to repeat the layers, so divide everything accordingly. 
Spoon about 1/2 cup or so of the gravy in the bottom. Add your stuffing layer, packing it down to make a firm base. Next is the cranberries. You can either blop it all over, or spread it out in an even layer. Next, make a layer of soy curls. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the whole thing with a rubber spatula. Spoon about a cup of the gravy over this. If you're deep-dishing, you should have saved half of everything. Repeat your layers. 

Roll out the puff pastry to fit your dish. Lay it over the top, and crimp the edges, or tuck it in. Brush with non-dairy milk. Make two slits in the top with a knife. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Lest rest for ten minutes, and serve with extra gravy.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Soup for the sniffles

Today I recommended a pot of hot, spicy, garlicky soup for his nasty cold as I rang up his Airborne and NyQuil. "Lots of garlic, lots of heat. Your nose is going to run. Let it!" This is my go-to for when I'm feeling icky, or if I have a hankering for something full of garlic and don't plan on going on any dates for a while. I usually make it with the mock duck in the can, but this was pretty easy to do with the soy curls (I hydrated them in a hot water/lime juice/soy sauce/garlic marinade).

This is another one that could be a contender. Oh man. Decisions, decisions.

Green Curry Coconut Soup
Green Curry Coconut Soup with Soy Curls

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Woman full of binders

That's what I need to be. I'm trying to make dosas (a thin Indian crêpe made of rice), but they are super fall-aparty. By the time I got these two to hang together long enough to take a picture, I was so tired and hungry (and MoFoed OUT, but I'll get to that later), that I didn't bother to experiment with much else other than a little cornstarch. Should I get a sliver of time between now and Saturday, I'll research my options. I do like this little idea for Iron Chef...but my big worry is how time consuming it is. I have to work until 10pm Friday night, which doesn't leave me with a lot of time to get the things done that need to get done. Stupid job.

Anyway, with a variety of different fillings using the Soy Curls, this could definitely be a contender. They are so filling, though, which could be a hindrance if I'm relying on people not being able to resist seconds.
Dosas with mango chutney
Dosas with mango chutney

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sweet & Salty

This one isn't going to make it into the finals as is, due to a rough morning. I got a call from my boss at 8:00am, and he said, "Go back to bed. The truck won't be here until 11." to which I replied, "Uh, I'm scheduled at 11." "Oh, well. Go back to bed." Sigh.

Since I was up, I decided to get MoFo out of the way and do a breakfasty thing. I'd been marinating the curls in a sweet and salty mixture all night, so I cooked it up with some onions, sweet potatoes, and apples. Future versions will use red onions, and have some cabbage and caraway seed. Oh, and some sort of creamy cider sauce.

Mock pork, apples, and sweet potatoes
Mock pork with apples and sweet potatoes

Monday, October 15, 2012

The latest contender.

I'm starting to feel really competitive. Like, bloodthirsty competitive. I actually contemplated not posting anything the rest of the week - not even pictures - because I don't want to give any indications about what I'm up to. How sad is that? I've won Iron Chef before, and I should be willing to deal with someone else getting the glory.

But dammit. I wanna win!

This is something I often make with the Gardein beefless tips. I figured, if I can make the curls taste like chicken, why can't I also make them taste beefy? I can do it with seitan and TVP. Soy Curls are really just whole grain TVP, anyway.

vegan stroganoff
Soy Curl Stroganoff

Making this, I got all fancy with the ingredients, and should have just stuck to how I normally do it. Should I enter this on Saturday, I'll go back to the basics. Oh, and use the right kind of noodles.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mini Kebabs

Not my first idea for what to do for Iron Chef, but it's the idea I'm running with tonight, because I have everything needed in the house.

mini kebabs w/ tahini sauce
Mini kebabs with tahini dipping sauce.

These were very good. The sauce was tangy and creamy at the same time. Serve with pita, sliced cucumber and tomato.

(Recipes for this week will be posted 10/21)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Iron Chef Week!

Saturday is our third Iron Chef competition at Animal Rights Coalition. I have participated in the first two (winning the first one!), and I plan to compete this time as well. Those of you in Minnesota should come; while they are full on competitors, we need people to come eat and donate, for that picks the winner!

The secret ingredient is: Butler's Soy Curls.

This week, I'll be trying a few of the ideas rolling around in my head, coming to a decision, and entering what I think is the best one in Saturday's competition. I won't be posting recipes (but still blogging with pictures!) until after Saturday's event. To warm up, I made a small pot of soup this morning.

This isn't Iron Chef-worthy, and really easy. Carrots, celery, onion, parsley, basil, Soy Curls, noodles, and broth.

Allez Cuisine!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Me and baking. A love story.

Like any love story, there is a conflict. Some hellish mountain to be traversed. With baking, there are many heartbreaks: veganizing cake mix, making pie crust, and making up recipes for something as simple as cookies. Back when I used eggs, I made up cookie recipes all the time. Now, I have to figure out which egg sub will work for which recipe, and through much trial and error, I might come up with something that kind of works. Then I go cheat on baking and use a recipe from VCIYCJ because Isa is much better than I am at these kinds of things. Sorry, baby. I have NEEDS.

Today started out rough. The dough looked a little too moist, and I know from experience that oatmeal cookie dough should be pretty dry. I baked the first batch, and they weren't bad; just a little too spread out and doughy in the middle. I added more flour and oats, and they came out great. I also used more brown sugar than white because I ran out of white, and it ended up being a great idea! They formed an almost toffee edge around each cookie. YUM.

Oatmeal cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 2 dozen big cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 medium overripe banana, peeled and squished
2 tsp good vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/3 cups old fashioned oats (not the quick ones!)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°
Cream together the margarine, sugars, banana, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together the baking powder, flour, and oats. Add to the wet ingredients, and combine. Fold in the raisins and chips. Drop scoops onto parchment-lined cookie sheets (I use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop, but I don't fill the scoop up all the way). Leave about 1.5" between cookies. Flatten the tops with a spatula or your (clean, duh) hand. Bake 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lazy Thursday

With the exception of three loads of laundry done around 1:00pm, today was all about relaxing. Curled up with Bowie in the crook of my arm, I watched Damages, did some shopping in the Kindle store, and then popped in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo so I could drool over Daniel Craig. I knew I had to cook something, but I wasn't hungry. Not until the smell of slow cooking vegetables and gravy drifted to my nose, that is.

When I was a little girl, my mom made Swanson pot pies in the oven all the time. She would always turn mine over onto a plate, and I often protested, "I want to eat it out of the little pan!" I guess she worried I'd burn myself or make a mess, but it wasn't until I was a grownup that I baked one up in my own oven and ate it out of the aluminum pan that I realized that I liked it all over the plate. It reminded me of my mom.

I searched all over the place for little pie pans yesterday, but none were quite deep enough, so this one was made in a standard pie plate, so it serves more than just one person. With a salad and a veggie side, this could serve four.I am far too lazy to deal with making pie crust, so I opted for puff pastry for this one. Pepperidge Farm makes a vegan puff pastry, albeit completely hydrogenated and non-organic. Since I buy a package of the stuff maybe once a year, I figure I'll live.

vegan pot pie
Just out of the oven

vegan pot pie

Vegan Chicken Pot Pie
makes one standard pie or four mini-pies

1/2 package Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, thawed
1/2 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp margarine
1 cup not-chicken broth (I use Edward & Sons Not Chicken cubes. 1 cube in a cup of boiling water)
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cashew cream or soy creamer 
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley 
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp poultry seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup chicken flavored seitan (I used some Gardein Chick'n Scallopini, thawed and cubed)
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

Preheat oven to 350°

In a saucepan, heat the margarine until melted. Add onion, celery, and garlic and stir, lowering the heat. Cook until soft. Stir in broth, and increase heat. Whisk in the cornstarch. Stir over a low boil until thickened. Add seasonings, cream, and wine. Stir in chicken seitan and vegetables. Heat for about two minutes, and then pour into a pie pan that's been sprayed lightly with cooking spray. 

Roll out the piece of puff pastry to fit the pie pan. Brush lightly with some melted margarine. With scissors or a pizza cutter, cut into a circle. Lay the pastry over the pie, buttered side down, and crimp the edges. Brush the top with non-dairy milk. Bake 30 minutes or until golden. Let rest five minutes and serve.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I would do anything for love...

...or for vegan meatloaf that isn't mushy.

This time, I came close. I have yet to find that perfect balance of meatiness and loafiness without just serving up a pile of beany-flavored mystery goop. This time it actually held its shape and baked through, but I'm going to add flaxseed to the recipe to see if that helps bind it better. Even without it, it turned out pretty swell.

vegan meatloaf

Vegan Meatloaf with Roasted Potatoes
serves 6

1/2 pkg (7 oz) Gimme Lean hamburger
1/2 pkg Gimme Lean sausage
5 slices bread, soaked in water and strained
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 cup toasted bread crumbs
1/2 tbsp bouquet garni
1/2 can tomato sauce for meatloaf (I used Hunt's)
couple dashes of salt, a few twists of pepper

Preheat oven to 375°.
Smush all that up in a bowl. Drop into a roasting pan, form into a loaf. Dribble some diluted barbecue sauce over the top. Lay strips of Fakin' Bacon or Tofurky's smoky maple tempeh bacon across the top. 

For potatoes:

2 large red potatoes, cut into chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
dash coarse salt

Toss everything to coat in a large bowl. Arrange potatoes around the meatloaf. Bake for an hour, uncovered, or until meatloaf is done and potatoes are tender. Turn the potatoes occasionally while cooking.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mac n' Cheese, Cheese n' Mac...

Good for a meal, great for a snack!

You know that a week of comfort food can't happen without a big ol' dish of baked macaroni and cheese, and vegans don't get off the hook, either. While I got over most cheeses and cheesy dishes, I never quite got past mac & cheese. It's the one thing you want when you had a shitty day at work, or when you've overindulged a bit and it's 2:00am. I got by with noochy sauce for a while, then Follow Your Heart, and then Daiya happened, and mac & cheese actually became something that I'd thought I'd never experience again. You know the stuff. That Velveeta-y, creamy orange deliciousness. Nothing fancy. No Vegan Master Chef-type ingredients. Just simple and good.

Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese
Vegan Macaroni & Cheese
serves 4 hungry vegans

8 oz brown rice pasta elbows
4 tbsp margarine, divided
1 cup Daiya shreds (cheddar)
1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
dash paprika
1 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350°, coat a 1-qt casserole with cooking spray. Set aside.

Cook macaroni until al dente (follow the directions on the package). Strain, return to the pot.
Heat 3 tbsp margarine in a separate saucepan until melted. Add the cheese, milk, paprika, and garlic. Stir until everything melts together. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat to low, and keep stirring (mixture will thicken and become very smooth). Remove from heat, and stir into hot macaroni. Mix well, so all the noodles are coated. Dump it into the prepared casserole. Toss the breadcrumbs with the last tablespoon of (melted) margarine. Spread evenly over the noodles. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, and let it rest for 5 minutes before digging in.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Crisis averted!

Somewhere in the black hole that is my kitchen, there is a paddle attachment for my ice cream maker. I see it all the time, acknowledge its existence, and move on to other things. Of course, when I need it, I can't remember the oh-so-clever place that I stored it. It would make too much sense to store it with, I don't know...the rest of the attachments for that machine, or maybe in the drawer full of Cuisinart blades, stand mixer hooks and whisks, bread machine paddles, and sushi mats? NOOOO. I put it somewhere that I would see it every day. Only I don't. So, when I got home at 10:30 tonight to make ice cream, I had a small panic attack as I turn my kitchen upside down trying to find the damn thing. Ah, but I found the Robo-Stir, which I wouldn't have purchased if it wasn't 75% off, and now I know why. It doesn't do anything like the commercial. It sits in the bowl, and it vibrates. That's it. 

So, I used a gadget I could find. My fucking arm. 

Vanilla Ice Cream w/ Bourbon Caramel

It's not 100% frozen solid like it would be close to had I used the right attachment, but I was getting tired. For the record, it's Jell-O vanilla cook & serve pudding made with almond milk, chilled, and then ice creamed. Some twat on Facebook tried to tell me that thickeners weren't needed when making ice cream because "freezing it thickens it." In a polite way, I told her to eat a bag of dicks with her boring ass ice cream; the rest of us were going to make it from pudding, and enjoy delicious, rich, creamy ice cream that has a mouthfeel more like cream and less like...well, ice. So there you go.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Bourbon Caramel Sauce
serves 6

1 4.6 oz box Jell-O vanilla Cook & Serve pudding (it's vegan!)
3 cups vanilla almond milk (soy just doesn't set right)
1 tsp bourbon vanilla extract (Trader Joe's)

Prepare as directed on the box, only add the extract. Chill in the fridge until cold and set. Make it into ice cream in your ice cream maker THAT HAS A PADDLE.

Caramel Sauce

1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp margarine
1 cup cashew cream, coconut cream, or soy creamer
1 tsp bourbon vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, water, and margarine. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes (it'll bubble a lot). Very carefully, add the cream and vanilla in a slow stream and stir stir stir. Cook for another couple minutes. Remove from heat, cool for a few minutes. Serve over ice cream.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


This week will be dedicated to comfort foods, more specifically, quick comfort foods. That means I'll be taking a lot of shortcuts, but to me, that's what comfort food entails. When you want to be cozy and warm, with one of your favorite foods, shouldn't it take the least amount of time from fridge to bowl? Exactly. Needless to say, I'm kind of leaving Engine 2 on the sidelines until MoFo is over.

This chili came together so quickly, I call it Halftime Chili, because you could make it during halftime. As long as you use already cooked or canned beans, and a chili seasoning packet, you're in and out of that kitchen pretty quick. What took time was baking the cornbread (by the way, Betty Crocker's cornbread muffin mix is vegan, but it's kind of sweet and not so good).

Halftime Chili

Halftime Chili
6-8 servings

1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups cooked beans, or two cans 
         I used a can of chili beans (pinto, kidney, black) and a can of garbanzos
1 14-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes with chilies (Can I just say, "those yummy Muir Glen tomatoes?")
1 12-oz pkg burger crumbles (I used Lightlife's Smart Ground Mexican Style)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp barbecue sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 envelope chili seasoning
1 tbsp dark cocoa powder
ground chipotle (if desired), to taste
shredded vegan cheese, sour cream, scallions, cilantro to garnish

Cook onion, pepper, and garlic in oil until soft. Throw in everything else up to the chipotle, plus a splash of water and cook, stirring, for about five minutes.  Serve hot with cheese, sour cream, chopped scallions, and cilantro with a wedge of cornbread. Pop open a beer. 


Saturday, October 6, 2012

How to stay warm

One thing seriously lacking out there in the interwebs are Engine 2 desserts. I've found a few that are already in the book, but otherwise, you can forget it. I made this tonight, because I was craving something kind of sweet and warm.

Engine 2 rice pudding

Engine 2 Rice Pudding
makes about 6 one cup servings

1/2 cup short grain brown rice, rinsed
1 14-oz can light coconut milk
1 1/4 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (I went with rice milk for this one)
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
stevia, optional
2 cups fruit (anything goes; fresh or frozen. I used frozen peaches and cherries)

In a large pot with a cover, combine the rice and milks. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and cover. Check on it every 10 minutes or so, and stir. After about an hour, the rice should be cooked. Whisk in the cornstarch and spices. Increase heat to a low boil, and stir for about a minute. Fold in fruit of choice. Heat through. Add stevia to taste if you want a sweeter flavor. Pour into bowls, and either cool to room temperature, or chill for cold pudding.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Curry and the Cackler

I almost murdered someone tonight. Well, okay. I probably wouldn't have murdered him if I'd had the green light, but I sure did fantasize about crushing his face with my elbow a few times. It was the DRUNK MORON next to me at Louis CK's show tonight. Everything else was awesome; I went with my best friend, we got fourth row tickets, and Louis was hilarious. But, man. Even this dude's buddy looked like he wanted to disappear into a hole in the ground. Imagine Ricky Gervais's laugh, only less endearing, and he kept saying shit like, "Oh man. This is some funny shit!" and commenting on stuff. Really? This guy must not watch Louie at all, because I was waiting for this guy to become a target, and there I am. Next to him. 

Anyway, before the show, I made Coconut Curried Tempeh. I accidentally poured about a half cup of crushed red pepper into it (yikes!), and even though I scraped most of it out of the pan, it wound up so so so spicy. Luckily, my friend is a big fan of spicy. 

Coconut Curried Tempeh

I had to do this in parts, but it came together pretty fast. I think next attempt, I'll bake the tempeh, because I like it crispier, and it's hard to get that texture when you're stir frying in water instead of oil.

Coconut Curried Tempeh
makes 4 servings

1 16oz package tempeh, sliced into two flatter pieces, and then into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 onion, cut into thin moons
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp red curry paste, or curry powder
1/2 lb green beans
1 can light coconut milk

In a large, nonstick pan, blanch the tempeh in about 1/2 inch of water and Bragg's for about 3 minutes. Set aside on a plate. Put diced potatoes and a cup of cold water in the same pan, and cook until almost tender. Pour off the water. Throw in the rest of the veggies, tempeh, and curry. Stir fry until brown, adding spritzes of water to keep from sticking. Add a little more water, cover and steam for about 4-5 minutes. Stir in coconut milk. Serve over brown jasmine rice.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Had enough soup?

I was going to make this yesterday, but it was too warm in my third floor apartment to have the oven on, and I heard today was going to be "brisk." I'll say. I went down to Target to pick up some aluminum foil and a few other things, and nearly blew right out of my frozen skin. I realize that I've lived in Minnesota all 41 years of my life, but I can never be prepared enough for that first cold day. A lady at the bus stop even went so far as to say, "I hear there's snow in some parts" and I said, "You just said 'Macbeth' in a theater, I hope you realize." 
Anyway, a comforting, spicy soup was in order. Most African squash-peanut soups are made with butternut, but I am kabocha's biggest fan. It's kind of like pumpkin, only a little ...I don't know. Zestier? Anyhow, this turned out beautifully.

Squash and peanut soup

African Squash and Peanut Soup
makes 6-8 pretty healthy servings

To roast the squash:
1 kabocha or butternut squash, gutted and cut into wedges (reserve seeds if using kabocha; I've never tried toasting butternut seeds)
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 400°
Place the squash wedges in a large baking dish, and pour broth over them. Cover tightly with heavy duty foil, and bake for about 45-60 minutes, turning wedges once, until just tender. Cool on a platter, peel, and cut into small pieces (I just let it get all mashed; I like smooth soups).

To make the soup:

1 onion, finely chopped
6-7 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
pinch salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 quart low sodium vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter  (only ingredient is peanut; no added oil or salt!)

Cook the onion and garlic in a little water in a large pot or dutch oven until they start to soften. Add a little more water if the veggies start to stick. Add the squash and the rest of the ingredients, and stir well. Cook about 5 or so minutes. Serve garnished with wilted collards and cinnamon-scented kabocha seeds or sunflower seeds, almonds, or pumpkin seeds if desired.

Cinnamon Scented Kabocha Seeds

Make these while your roasted squash is cooling.

seeds from one kabocha squash, or pumpkin
1/2 tsp smoked salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Turn oven down to 300°
Remove the stringy stuff from your seeds (it's okay if there's a little on there). Toss with salt and cinnamon.  Spread evenly on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and bake, turning often, for about 20-25 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Chop them up if desired.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Garlicky Oil-Free Pesto

One thing that sucks about having a job is that during Vegan MoFo, I don't really get second chances to make things. This is why I fail a lot. This dish was not a fail, but will definitely improve when I make it again and again. I think I just puréed it too long, and I need to tweak the seasoning. Don't get me wrong; it's delicious. I just think that I could have done better, but it was hard with all the running to the TV during the debates.

Pesto is traditionally very olive oily. Even when I looked up "lowfat" or "fat free" pesto, I got recipes with SOME oil in it. Well, not this one. It's similar to the recipe over on Oh She Glows, but I left out the lemon (which would have really helped!), and used three cloves of garlic. So, it's waaay garlicky, but I like it like that. I have the night off.

Oil free pesto

Garlicky Oil-Free Pesto
makes about 1 1/2 cups

3 cloves garlic, chopped 
3/4 can of white beans (I used cannelini), drained and rinsed
1/4 avocado, chopped   
3 oz. fresh basil, stems removed (reserve some for garnish)
handful baby spinach
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
juice of half a lemon
pinch salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

In a food processor, purée garlic, beans, and avocado until smooth. Add basil, spinach, walnuts, nooch, lemon, and salt. Turn on the processor and blend, scraping the sides, for 5 second intervals. Start dribbling water into the machine until it reaches a spreadable consistency (I think I used about 1/3 cup, total). Season with pepper, toss with hot pasta or use as a sandwich spread.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cuban Black Bean Stew

I woke up this morning feeling like 100% crap, yet managed to pull through a ten hour day after taking an Allegra (which I forgot to pick up at work today GOD DAMMIT). I really really wanted something spicy to get the junk out of my sinuses. I think this was just spicy enough, but it's not going to scare anyone off. I think it's absolutely delicious. Too bad I don't have a special someone to share my cold, and my stew with.


Engine 2 Cuban Black Bean Stew
makes about 6 servings

1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
4 cups cooked black beans (or two cans, drained)
1 can fire roasted tomatoes with chipotles (Muir Glen), or diced tomatoes with chilies
2 tbsp tomato paste
splash sherry vinegar (or apple cider vinegar, or red wine vinegar)
hot sauce, optional
cooked brown rice
cilantro, red onion, lime wedges

In a large pot, with a little bit of water (no oil!), cook and stir the onion, peppers, and garlic until soft. Add oregano, beans, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Cook about five minutes. Stir in a splash of vinegar. Hot sauce to taste. Serve over rice and garnish with chopped red onion, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I'm doing it, okay?

Yes, I know. Not a day goes by that I don't think about this blog, and how I've neglected it. I tend to blow my wad during MoFo, and then spend the rest of the year recuperating. Well, here it is. Vegan Month of Food starts today, and I seriously didn't make up my mind on participating until this morning. I just have zero time! time after watching Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, and Walking Dead...

 This morning I missed the bus to Whole Foods, so had to go to the Wedge. This means that I had to budget, which I am no good at. I ended up spending $40 for a bag of groceries, and I can use the stuff for maybe two dishes I have planned. Gawd, can payday please come sooner?

Lucky for me, I had some pictures and a recipe waiting in the wings from last week. Right now, I'm doing the Engine 2 diet. Not because I need to lower my cholesterol (it's never been better!), or because I've strayed off the plant-based path, but because my weight graph on Weight Watchers' website looks like a bunch of Ms and Ws, and I needed something to kick it in the right directions. After two weeks, I'm down 6.5 pounds and feel like I've been scrubbed clean inside. The thing I don't like about it, is the lack of recipes out there. I googled "Engine 2 recipes" and got a lot of stuff from the cookbook. Not a bad thing; because folks who want to do it and not buy the book have a resource, but COME ON. No one's created anything? So, week one of MoFo is all about Engine 2. I'll start with a soup I made last week.

Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Kale
 (makes a ton)
1 1/2 cups dried green or brown lentils
2 medium red potatoes, diced (leave the skin on)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
2 apples (I used Granny Smith), cored and diced
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp curry powder

Put all this in a normal-sized slow cooker, and fill almost to the top with water. Cover and cook on low six hours.

Uncover, stir, season to taste (I ended up adding more curry). Then add the following:

1 bunch of dinosaur kale, rinsed and chopped
1 can fire roasted tomatoes with chilis
splash of sherry

Stuff it down in there, cover. Cook on high for about an hour, or until kale is nicely wilted. Serve garnished with avocado or plain, unsweetened soy yogurt.