Friday, July 31, 2009

"Loaded Potato Salad,"(non-vegan); Peach Crisp(vegan);Pasta w/Chickpeas and Zucchini(vegan)

So far I've swished the toilet, made the bed, washed and am now drying a mixed load of laundry, and that's it. Some time today I've got to wash the dishes, and as long as it doesn't pour down rain again,take out the trash, well as clean out the 'fridge. Exciting day off, yes? That's fine, I'm going to have enough excitement in a month or so to last quite a while: I'm moving out of my teeny tiny little one-bedroom house and into a two-bedroom apartment, just across the street from where I am now. Plus, I gain a small storage shed in my back yard, and a bathroom with a BATHTUB!! Not just a shower, but a real, honest-to-goodness tub, lol. Um...senior moment here: Did I already post about moving?!?!?

This past week I tried to make some oven-dried tomatoes, but I wasn't pleased with the results at all. I don't know if I sliced them too thin, had my little toaster-oven too hot, or what, but they were nasty, sigh. However. Some day I will try again, and possibly next time they'll come out ok. The directions I read said to set the oven at 250ºF, and leave the 'maters in the oven until they were dried, about two-three hours, but by the time mine were dry, they were burned. Nasty. I took them off the baking sheet anyway, put them in a container with some olive oil and garlic, but they were still nasty, and the peels were impossible to chew.Better luck next time, right? Right!

My other failure this past week was the Pasta with Chickpeas and Zucchini, which altho I thought was yucky, I'm still going to post, because I'm assuming somebody likes it, or it wouldn't have been a printed recipe in August, 2009's issue of "Real Simple." Different strokes for different folks, for sure.

Linguine with Chickpeas and Zucchini(vegan)

12 ounces linguine(3/4 of a box)
2Tbs. olive oil
3 small zucchini, cut into thin half-moons
Kosher salt
1 15-0z. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan(2 ounces)

>Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, drain, and return the pasta to the pot.
>Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Zucchini and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, tossing often, until just tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the chickpeas, garlic, and red pepper and cook, until heated through, 2-3 minutes.
>Toss the pasta with the reserved pasta water and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Divide the pasta among bowls and top with the zucchini mixture and the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan.

So, there ya go, and if you try it, let me know how you like it, ok? I was so disappointed with it, but just couldn't make myself take more than a few bites, just didn't like it. Had to throw out the whole pot, sigh. What a waste!!

On the plus side, tho, I made a couple loaves of banana bread that turned out well. The recipe is here in my blog somewhere, but to find it, you'll have to go to the list on the left and click on bananas or bread. But it's there, it's good, it's vegan, and I love it.

The Loaded Potato Salad was an effort to help use up a whole lot of fresh cucumbers that my co-worker brought me from her garden, along with a lot of yellow tomatoes(those are the ones I tried to dry in my toaster-oven, and I don't like them quite as well as red 'maters.). I also had an apple in the 'fridge, so used that, as well. I loved the salad, even without any onion or boiled eggs in it. I left those out deliberately, to help avoid stomach issues.

Loaded Potato Salad(non-vegan)

About three medium potatoes, boiled with jackets on, cooled, and then peeled and cut in dice.

1 medium apple, peeled...or not, your choice, but I can't chew the peels so I take them off...cored and cut in small dice.

2...or more, again, your choice...medium cucumbers, peeled and cut in dice.

Handful of washed and halved cherry tomatoes

Small hunk of goat cheese, crumbled, and a couple pieces of vegetarian smoked Provolone cheese, torn into small pieces. If you leave the cheeses out, and use vegannaise instead of real mayo, then this would be vegan.

Mayo to taste Black pepper Garlic powder and onion powder to taste

Once the 'taters are cooked, cooled, and diced, put everything in a large mixing bowl and mix together. Cover the bowl and let it chill for at least 20 minutes before serving, so all the flavours can marry. This made enough to last me about three meals, and I loved every bite of it. If I'd put onions and boiled eggs in it, I admit it would have been even better, but without them, I didn't have any gastric distress and was able to go to work the next morning without any problems. The goat cheese I used had a rind on it that had been soaked in red wine, and it was wonderful cheese. I hope I can find it again, and, I apologize, but I don't remember the brand name, just that I bought it at Kroger.

The last time I went grocery shopping, I went to Food Depot, specifically because they were selling fresh peaches for 38¢ a pound, and I LOVE fresh peaches. So, I over bought, but even so, didn't lose any of them. Part of them went into a Peach and Strawberry Shortcake, and with plenty of whipped topping, it was fantastic. Several of them were eaten out of hand, leaning over the kitchen sink to catch the juice, lol. And the last six went into this Peach Crisp, which altho I liked it, and ate all of it, wasn't one of the best I've ever had, so I learned something from it: even if a recipe for it calls for vanilla, don't use it. Don't use cinnamon, either. Just peaches and sugar, about 1/3 cup, I guess.

Peach Crisp(vegan)

6 good-sized peaches, peeled and sliced(I just used a sharp knife and peeled away, but, to make it easier, you can drop the whole peaches into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, then take them out and put them into a bowl of ice water. The skins should slip right off after that.).

1/3 cup sugar

Place peaches in a lightly greased 9"round pie pan, and stir in the sugar. Set aside while you prepare the "crisp." And preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Mix together 1/3 cup EACH raw oatmeal, flour, and, if you like, shredded coconut. If you don't want to use, or don't have, the coconut, just use equal amounts of the oatmeal and flour to equal one cup...duh, 1/2 cup each, lol.

Cream together 1 stick margarine(light Blue Bonnet, or, Earth Balance)and 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, until light and fairly fluffy. Use a mixer if you wish, but I just used a fork. It doesn't have to be perfect.

Mix the dry ingredients with the margarine mixture, and crumble over the peaches. You'll probably have to use your fingers to get it spread relatively evenly over the peaches, but again, it doesn't have to be perfect.

Put it in the oven and leave it there for about 45 minutes...start checking after 30 minutes. The peaches and the topping should be just about bubbling, and while not exactly set hard, sort of set in an almost jiggly way, and still moist. Now, you can cool this or eat it hot, your choice. If I'd had any, I would have put either whipped topping or vanilla ice cream with this, but I didn't have any, so I didn't. 'Tis ok, it was still good.

I think that's all for this week, so until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Coconut Jasmine Rice(vegan)

Tuesday was another Kidney Jerk day, so Debra picked me up about 9:45am and off we went. After we left the Jerk's office, we went on to the library, where I had to make myself stop picking out books at 12. Last time we went, I had a very difficult time finding enough to make me happy, and this time, it broke my heart, but I had to stop. But I found a couple books that I've been wanting to read: "The DaVinci Code," by Dan Brown, and another one of the "The .....Tale," by Margaret Frazier. The DaVinci Code is a wonderful book, and much to my delight, at one point in the book, I "solved" one of the riddle clues before the heroes did, lol. The one by Margaret Frazier is one of a series of about 16 books, of which I've read about eight, I think, which is all the library has had, until they stocked this new one, "The Tale of the Reever." These "tales" are all set back in the 1300's, and the detective heroine is a nun. Incredible how she solves murder mysteries without the aid of our modern technology, but, she does! And holds me spellbound thruout the whole book to boot!

The jasmine rice recipe is a spinoff of the coconut rice recipe I posted a while back, but a little more complicated, and a whole lot better tasting. When I made this, I didn't use a recipe, but most likely someone has put it out there on the web somewhere. All I did was check to be sure I wasn't duplicating the earlier one I posted, and I wasn't. I ate the rice with the heated up Moorish Chickpea Stew I posted last week, and much to my delight...and surprise...the stew was MUCH better the second time around, and the rice turned out to be perfect with it, with the sweetness of the rice offsetting the sort of bitter taste of the stew. It was perfect, and I hope to make it again some day.

Coconut Jasmine Rice
1C rice
1(15-oz.)can of coconut milk, plus about half a can of water.
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
a handful of unsweetened shredded, dried coconut, toasted until light brown in a dry skillet over medium heat, about ten minutes.
Salt if you wish, but I didn't, and didn't see any need for it.

Bring the coconut milk to boil, add the rice, stir it into the water, and after you've covered the pot, turn the heat down so the rice simmers very gently for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Check it after about ten minutes or so, to see if you think it's going to need more liquid. Mine did, so I added half the can of water to the rice and milk, recovered it, and let it alone fro the next ten minutes.

When the rice was done, I added the cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as the shredded coconut, and stirred it all together. Took the pot off the heat and stirred in the vanilla, and that was it: Coconut Jasmine Rice. And, yes, I will make it again sometime.

Until next time, Happy Eating!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Moorish Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew(vegan); Cucumbers in Sour Cream(vegan)

This recipe today is another one from the NPR(National Public Radio?)"How Low Can You Go?" contest, and was sent in by Chef Jose Andres. I found it in "The Simple Dollar" newsletter, and thought it looked good enough to try. The author of "The Simple Dollar" made the recipe the way he found it, and then made an adaptation of it, and this is the adaptation. Hope you like it~!

Moorish Style Chickpea & Spinach Stew

2 cans chickpeas
Garlic powder to equal six cloves
1/4C extra virgin olive oil
3/4C bread crumbs
2Tbs. EACH paprika and red wine vinegar
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 pound spinach, washed and cleaned
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse chickpeas thoroughly, then put them in a pan with 1 1/2C water, and bring it to a boil. In another pan, bring the olive oil to a boil, and then remove it from the heat for 2 minutes. While stirring the olive oil, add the paprika, cumin, garlic, red wine vinegar, then slowly add the bread crumbs and set this aside. When the beans are boiling, add the spinach and allow it to boil for five minutes, stirring a bit. Add in the olive oil mixture, stir, and allow to boil another 5 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.

Well, I was sorely disappointed. The photos of this stew looked really yummy, and the author of the newsletter said his family liked it quite a lot. The recipe itself sounded good, too. I followed the recipe closely, with the exception of cooking my own chickpeas from dried ones, instead of opening a couple cans. And I got a little scared when the olive oil started smoking instead of boiling, so turned the heat off right then. I don't know how much of a difference that would have made, tho, and everything sizzled nicely when I stirred it into the hot oil. There's plenty left, so I'm pretty sure I'll eat it at least once more, because it is edible, even tho I'm not too fond of it. I certainly can't bring myself to toss it out...just yet. Y'know, I think I'd like it a lot better if I made it the next time with cannellini beans.

I didn't have any crusty bread, so I made a few boxed mix biscuits, and I also made a dish of cucumbers in sour creme for a cooling effect...and was glad I did, really.

Cucumbers in Sour Creme
1C diced cucumber, 1 C sour creme, 1Tbs. snipped fresh dill, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
Mix it all together, let it chill for at least 15 minutes, and enjoy. That's all there is to it~!!!!

At least the biscuits and cucumbers were good, lol. I think tonight I'll finish the cucumbers with "beefless gyro" sammich.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tomato Pie(non-vegan)

Good morning, and welcome back. How has your week been going? Mine has been ok, nothing out of the ordinary, which, altho boring, is also nice, because it means I'm not in any kind of a crisis, and THAT is wonderful, lol.

One of my favorites, on the left of the page, is "," and I get a daily newsletter from there. Two times lately, the author has posted recipes from an NPR(National Public Radio?)contest called "How Low Can You Go?" Folks have sent in all kinds of recipes, all supposed to be under $10 to prepare, for a family of, I think, four. Anyway. I followed a couple links from one of the recipes in his newsletter, and one of them took me to the NPR contest site, which is where I found this Tomato Pie recipe, from Kathy Lloyd, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. If you're interested, the link to NPR is, but you'll have to do a search for the contest itself.

Kathy Lloyd's Tomato Pie

Make one biscuit recipe from a boxed biscuit mix. Use it as a pie crust and bake it. Place either ceramic baking beads or another pie plate on top of it to keep it from rising out of control.

Layer in the pie crust sweet onions[such as Vidalias]piled high and sliced thin, generally one big one. Then use fresh tomatoes, not too thinly sliced, about two pounds. Season each layer of tomatoes with salt, fresh cracked pepper, and fresh basil.

Make a top crust with two cups shredded cheddar cheese and one cup mayo. Mix the cheese and mayo with your hands and squish it all over the pie like a top crust. Bake at 350ºF for 45-60 minutes. On the crust, I used half goat cheese, half mayo, but you have to have the mayo to make the crust.

Now, I don't know about you, but to me, those directions are a little confusing in places. "Each layer" of tomatoes? How many layers? And what temperature should the biscuit crust bake at, for how long? Are the directions on the box? I'm sure the end product is good, but I'm NOT sure about how to get there.

So. Here's what I did, instead of Ms. Lloyd's pie: tarts...sort of, lol. A couple years ago, one of my customer's kids was selling stuff for his school, so I ordered a dozen of the silicone muffin cups from him, and have been so glad that I did, many time. These babies are wonderful: you can bake them up to 500ºF, they sit on a baking sheet all by themselves and don't need liners or to be greased, and they wash easily, too. So I used those instead of an actual tart pan, which I odn't have anyway, and instead of regular muffin tins...which I do have, but prefer not to use.

My crust recipe comes off the box of Kroger brand biscuit mix, and is actually for a pizza. I think I've posted it here before, but I'm not going to take the time to hunt for it. Just know that it's a very, very acceptable substitution for a real pizza crust, but no yeast, and very easy.

1 1/2 C biscuit mix
1/4 C HOT water
1 Tbs. oil

Mix all together to form a soft dough, and then mix well for about 20 strokes. Then let the dough rest for about 8 minutes. Then, after the 8 minutes, I put the dough on a floured cutting board, greased my hands well with olive oil and slid them up and down my rolling pin, so it wouldn't stick to the dough, and rolled it out until it was about 1/4 inch thick, close to a six by six inch square. I used a drinking glass to cut six rounds from the dough, and pushed the six rounds down into six of the silicone muffin cups(if you don't have the silicone cups, just grease six regular muffin tins, and after you've got the dough in the muffin tins, weigh it down with the ceramic thingies or even dried beans), and set the other six cups inside these, to keep the crust from rising too high. I had already preheated the oven to 450ºF...and btw, the cups were sitting on a small metal cookie sheet...and so I put the cookie sheet in the oven. Ok, even tho the cups are good to 500ºF, I didn't like the smell coming from the oven, so I turned it down to 450ºF, and that took care of the smell. After about eight minutes I checked on the little crusts, but the were too soft. Ultimately it took about 12 minutes to brown them a little bit, but they didn't get crisp, which was fine with me.

Ok, now. You'll need one large tomato, and about half of a large onion, some oregano, about 3/4 of a cup of mayo, and as much cheese as you like. We're working with a smaller amount than the pie would be, so you won't need the full two cups of cheese, or the full two pounds of tomatoes.

First, I lowered the oven temperature again, down to 350ºF. Then I diced the onion finely, and put about two teaspoonsful into each little pastry cup, and sprinkled them well with oregano. On top of the onion and oregano, I laid a good slice of tomato, sort of folding it if necessary to keep it inside the cup. I sprinkled the tomato slices with black pepper. Now for the fun part, lol. I can't use dairy cheddar, even tho I love it, and I do NOT like the vegetarian cheddar, so I totally used goat cheese, probably about a cup in all. Use whatever cheese you have and like, crumbled up to mix well with the 3/4 cup mayo. After you've mixed them together, spoon the resulting glop(good stuff, tho)on top of each cup, put the whole shebang in the oven, and wait about, oh, 30 minutes, I think. The whole thing should be hot, and the mayo and cheese should be oozing and lightly browned.

Ok, are these good? OH HELL YEAH! LOL! I ate three of them, one right after the other, and I've eaten another one, cold out of the 'fridge, this morning. If you and your family like pizza, you will like these, I assure you. And you can experiment with them until the cows come home, too. Don't like oregano? The original recipe calls for basil...try thyme...try tarragon...add some minced garlic...use different cheeses...whatever you think you'll like. I don't think you can screw these up. And I also think that instead of the biscuit dough crusts, you could use...ohhhhhhh, no, senior moment, know, it's the flaky crust on Napoleons, on Baklava, I can't think of it, sigh. And I love it. Anyway, if you figured out what I mean, I think it would be good, too, lol. HAH! Phyllo! Got it, lol. It's rough getting'll find out for yourself one of these days, lol.

Now, will I make these again? I honestly don't know. They were fairly labor intensive, but not all that bad, so yes, I think someday I'll make them again, and I think that I will do it as a pie next time. These would make good appetizers for a party, I think, whereas the pie could be sliced and served at dinner as a side dish.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another New(to me)Website.

I came across this website today courtesy of the email newsletter from "The Simple Dollar." The site's url is , and I think I've fallen in love, lol. What this site does is hook you up to recipes that utilize things you have in your kitchen. On the left side of the page is a box where you put the ingredient you have, and once you do, the right side of the page pops up with ideas for using that ingredient. For instance, I typed in potatoes, cabbage, and onions, and a bunch of recipes popped up, the first three of which I was informed that I had all that was needed for that one. I don't remember all three recipes, but the one I did like the looks of, and clicked on, was "Vegetarian Bubble and Squeek." Anyway, I hope you check the site out...and if the link in this post doesn't work, it's also on the left of the page here, under "JB's Favorites..." and I hope you enjoy it.

The hash I made from the leftover potatoes and chickpea sausage patties was wonderful. I cut up half a large onion, and let it cook in canola oil and margarine until it was almost, but not quite, caramelized. While the onion was cooking, I diced up the two cooked potatoes, just as finely as I could, and covered them with smoked paprika. When the onions were the way i wanted them, about 15 minutes, I guess, I scraped the 'taters in on top of them, and then put the leftover sausage mixture on top of the 'taters. Stirred it all up, let it get brown and crispy on one side and then turned it over and continued cooking it, until most of it had crisped up nicely. It was really and truly terrific, and is going to be one of my favorite meals, I think.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chickpea Sausage Patties(vegan)

This recipe is another one from and is one that I think is really good, and has the potential to be very versatile, as well. In fact, my supper tonight will be the leftover patties fried with leftover, cooked potatoes, sort of a hash. I think the side vegetable will just be canned(with no sodium added)French style green beans, one of my favorites. I didn't really time myself last evening, but seems like it took me about 45 minutes to get this ready to cook, but that included soaking time for the tvp granules, getting everything out, and the fact that I'm just naturally slow in the kitchen...any time I'm not at work, in fact!!! So you'll probably be able to get it ready in about 30 minutes,maybe less, ok?

Chickpea Sausage Patties

1/2 C TVP granules soaked 5-10 minutes in 1/3C boiling water
1 1/2 C cooked chickpeas(I used drained and rinsed canned ones)
2T Bragg's Amino Acid or soy sauce
1Tbs. vegan Worcestershire sauce
2Tbs. canola oil plus more for frying
1tsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp EACH dried marjoram, sage, and onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 C EACH dried bread crumbs, and vital wheat gluten

In a large bowl, mash chickpeas with potato masher or a fork until no whole chickpeas are left. Stir in everything except the wheat gluten. Now add the wheat gluten and stir vigorously for a minute or so. Form into 10-12 patties and fry in a little canola oil over medium heat until nice and brown on both sides.

Ok, possibly I did something wrong, altho I followed the recipe to the letter, but my patties fell apart. Badly. That didn't affect the flavour at all, but it didn't look as pretty as patties would have. I also felt like another 1/2 to 1 tsp more of liquid smoke would have been good, and I didn't have any marjoram, so I used tarragon instead. Over all, tho, I was delighted with the results, and can see me doing this again, quite often. I'm thinking that with a fairly thick gravy of some sort it would be a good base for another Shepherd's Pie, and I also think it would make a lovely meatless loaf. And, it's good cold the next day, so it would probably make good sammiches...maybe grilled with some kind of vegetarian cheese, or even real dairy cheese if you prefer. As I said earlier, I'm going to make hash with the leftovers tonight, and am really looking forward to it.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hot Spinach Salad w/Feta(non-vegan); More about the kidney jerkl

This past Tuesday, the 7th, I was scheduled for my second visit with the kidney guy/jerk. Well! I sat in the waiting room, and I sat,and I sat, and I sat, and finally, his assistant came out, and, long story short: The doctor wasn't even in the building, he was running late, and there were three patients ahead of me. Sooooooo, I called my friend to come and get me, wrote that I would re-schedule on the sign-in sheet, and I left. Period. I was there roughly 45 minutes, the couple ahead of me had been there over an hour, and nobody had bothered to come out and tell the jerk's patients that he was late. Forgive me, but I have serious issues with that situation, and think it was unbelieveably inconsiderate, as well as not even close to being professional. However, I do have to see him again, so I will make another appointment. Sometime. In the meantime, it's been at least a week since I talked to the rheumatoligist's scheduler, and still haven't heard anything from them. I'm just very, very grateful that none of this is life-threatening, because I think that I'd most likely have died by now, from waiting for these "specialists" to decide what to do with me and my life. I'm pissed. Period.

None of that has anything to do with the hot spinach salad, does it? Nope, it doesn't, so I'll right to the point now. The original recipe wasn't for a hot salad, so this is an adaptation of a recipe I found in "Eating Well." When I read the original recipe, I thought, "Oh, yum...and I just actually happen to have a bag of baby spinach in the 'fridge." I had bought it to make something else, but since I don't remember what, I used it for the salad. The reason I decided to go with a hot salad is that I'm still kinda leery about raw bagged "stuff" in general, after the E.Coli scare a few months back. So, here's my recipe.

Hot Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese
One 10-oz. bag baby spinach, thoroughly rinsed and left very wet
Feta cheese...I used Vigo, which is made with sheep's milk. Use any kind you prefer...or leave it out entirely and make the salad vegan.
About two tablespoonsful olive oil
One heaping teaspoonful minced garlic(mine is from a jar, always)
About one teaspoonful Balsamic vinegar

Heat the olive oil in a skillet big enough to hold the spinach, remembering that the spinach will wilt and cook wayyyyy down. Toss the minced garlic in the pan, and let it sit until the oil is hot. Put the very wet spinach in the pan when the oil is hot, cover it, and let it cook down...if you want to, you can salt and pepper it now, but Feta cheese is wicked salty, so be careful. All I used was the black pepper. Once the spinach has wilted, crumble as much of the Feta cheese over it as you like. I guess I used about 3/4 cupful, because I love the stuff. Sprinkle about a teaspoonful of Balsamic vinegar over it all, stir, and let it sort of stew for a few minutes, just enough to let the flavors marry. Oh, yeah, I didn't put this in the ingredient list...obviously I'll never be a cookbook author...but I also peeled and diced up a big, red tomato, and put this in right after the cheese. If you don't have a tomato, I don't see why you couldn't use canned, drained, diced 'maters, do you? Anyway, that's all there is to it. It's one of those recipes that you can add to, or subtract from, or multiply, whatever. Different seasonings if you like, different type of cheese...goat cheese would be nice, too...or no cheese at all, maybe shredded carrots or minced onions, whatever. Play with it, make it yours.

Did I like this? Oh, yeah, very much! I ate all of it, by myself, in two evenings. Will I make it again? Possibly, but basically it falls into that category of "I'd love to have more of this if someone else would cook it," tho. And I don't have the Vigo Feta very often, as Kroger doesn't sell it: All their Fetas are made with cow's milk, and I can't handle the dairy. Since I cooked the spinach anyway, I think if I make it again, I'll just use frozen spinach. All I know for sure is that I really liked it. With it I had boiled potatoes and cubed seitan in onion gravy. Wonderful meal!!!!

Until next time, Happy Eating.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Vegan French Onion Dip; French Onion Biscuits(Vegan, I think.)

Again with two posts in one day...obviously I'm feeling a little better this week. Thankfully, I've managed to find some pain meds that work a little better, and I'm just in a better frame of mind, as well. Plus, my boss and I have finally worked out a new schedule for me that seems to satisfy both of least, for now.

Vegan French Onion Dip

1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1Tbs. EACH balsamic vinegar and olive oil
1tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 12-oz. container vegan sour cream, such as Tofutti
1/2tsp. low-sodium soy sauce and 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Toss together onion, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper on baking sheet. Bake 18 minutes, or until onions are browned. Transfer onion to bowl, and cool.

2. Coarsely chop onion slices and return to bowl; stir in sour cream, soy sauce, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl, and enjoy with chips, crackers, and veggies.

Ok, it's not bad at all just the way it is, but if I make it again, I think I will use two medium onions, and after they're out of the oven, I will dice them much, much smaller than "coarsely." I also think I should have left them in the oven longer than the 18 minutes, but keeping an eye on them, so that they don't blacken instead of brown. And, this just doesn't have quite enough "ooomph" to suit me, so I'm thinking that maybe a small shot of white wine vinegar or lemon juice, and maybe a shake or two of garlic powder. It's your ball game, play it any way you want to. Like I said, it's not bad just the way the recipe makes it.

This biscuit recipe was sent to me by one of my cyber-sisters, but I have no clue where she got it from. It's the reason I made the French onion dip...and btw, I was delighted to stumble across the recipe for the dip, as I wasn't looking for it. Serendipity, I suppose!

French Onion Biscuits

2 C Bisquick mix
1/4 C milk(I used soy milk...rice milk would be very good, too)
1-8 oz. container of French Onion Dip(so I used one cup of my homemade dip)

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Mix everything together in a bowl, and stir until a soft dough forms. Drop dough into 6 mounds onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes or until light brown. Serve warm.

To get a soft dough, I had to use just about a whole cup of soy milk. The recipe made eight good-sized mounds, not six, and took about 15 minutes to get as brown as I like them. These are pretty good, but, quite frankly, not worth the trouble I went thru. Now, if I had gone out and bought some real, honest-to-goodness French onion dip, the biscuits might have been a lot better, I really don't know. I don't think it would've been a vegan recipe if I had, but again, I don't really know. There's about another cup of the dip in my fridge, and I sure wish I had some cucumbers...that would be sooooo good, I think. Dice up the cukes, add a little more black pepper, and mix 'em in with the dip. Yum!

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

TVP Sausage Crumbles #2(vegan); Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits

I'm really enjoying fooling around with the TVP crumbles, and have found another sausage recipe, one that I like a little better than the first one I posted here. This new one is an adaptation of one that Barbara Kingsolver's daughter, Camille, put into the book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," by Barbara Kingsolver. The book is excellent, well written and very interesting, about the Kingsolver family's experiment to eat ONLY locally grown, harvested, and butchered foods for one whole year. Camille writes a lot of recipes for us, as well as writing down some of the family's menus for a week. Barbara raises turkeys, and her description of female turkeys in heat, and then being broody, had me roaring. If you've not read this book, I really wish you would.

Anyway, here's the #2 sausage recipe:

1C TVP granules, hydrated per package instructions(1 cup dry granules, 7/8 cup boiling water, mix together and allow to sit for about 15 minutes. Easy. Or I wouldn't bother with it, you know that, right?)
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tsp. minced garlic(I use the kind in a jar. Easy.)
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 to3/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. EACH dried oregano and dried thyme
black pepper to taste
pinch cayenne...optional...use more if you like. I didn't use any. I don't like hot.

Mix the seasonings in a bowl. Add the TVP and combine well. Either form the mixture into patties and fry in a little oil until browned, or fry the crumbles as is in oil.

After I had the crumbles browned the way I wanted them, I added two cups of water, and let it come to a boil. Then I added one tbs. of cornstarch, mixed in about a quarter cup of water, stirred that well, and let it come to a boil, and then a simmer for just a few minutes.

It was good the way it was over biscuits, altho I have to admit that I used too much cumin, the 3/4 tsp. was too much for me. The next night I added about 3/4 cup of frozen peas and carrots and about another cup of water, and let that come to a boil, and then a simmer for about ten minutes. That was even better, and I put it over potatoes. And, did the same thing the third night, by which time, it was gone. I'll make it again, but with less cumin. Seems to me that it would be a good base for a Shepherd's Pie: don't use quite as much water, so that it would be thicker, put it in a greased pan, and cover the top with mashed potatoes. Bake it at 350ºF for about 30 minutes, or until it's bubbling and the 'taters are brown.

The "buttermilk" biscuits are from an old cookbook of mine, called "The Metropolitan Cookbook," put out by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, copyright 1953.

"Buttermilk" Biscuits
Preheat oven to 450ºF................................makes about 12 biscuits

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup shortening
2/3 to3/4 cup buttermilk: one cup soy milk with one tablespoon cider vinegar OR lemon juice, stir, and allow to sit for a few minutes.

Mix dry ingredients together. Blend in shortening with fingertips or pastry blender. Mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal. Add enough milk to make soft dough which can be handled, stirring with fork. Turn out onto slightly floured board. Knead lightly for about 1/2 minute and roll or pat to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with 2-inch floured cutter or glass. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet from 12-15 minutes. Or, ignore all that, and drop by spoonsfuls onto the cookie sheet, and bake just the same. Easy. Guess which way I do it!?!?!

So, there ya go, gravy recipe and a biscuit recipe. Now scramble some tofu, and have you a good breakfast. Until next time, Happy Eating!

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