15 May 2012

Miso and Vegetable Curry with Jasmine Rice

Last night, I was feeling rather tired and rushed with an editing project that needed to be finished sooner rather than later. Normally when that happens, it's my cue to break out the delivery websites or start making instant mashed potatoes. Last night, though, neither of those options sounded particularly good, so instead I took to the web to try to find something... and sadly, still, nothing sounded good.

Susan Voison's Thai Green Curry with Vegetables and Tofu sounded the best of everything, though I lacked a few most of the ingredients to make it. So I did what I do and improvised. In this case, I improvised a lot, enough that I feel comfortable calling this one of my own.

It was an overwhelming success in my house, as well as a surprise hit on Facebook. It will be a repeater.

Miso and Vegetable Curry with Jasmine Rice

A recipe from Kat


  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock
  • 6 spears of fresh asparagus, woody ends removed and chopped small
  • 1 cup of fresh broccoli, florets only, chopped small
  • 8 oz of tofu, chopped small
  • 2 cups of soy milk or almond milk or coconut milk (I used light unflavored soy milk)
  • 1-2 Tbsp of reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 Tbsp of white miso paste
  • 1 cup of uncooked white jasmine rice
  • 1.25 cups of water (for rice)
  • Gomashio to taste (see note below)
  • Black pepper to taste


  1. Heat sesame oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions. Cook until tender. Add garlic. Cook approximately a minute. 
  2. Add vegetable broth to pot. Allow to come to boil and add asparagus, broccoli, and tofu.
  3. Add soy milk and soy sauce. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. In another pot, bring water to a soft boil. Add jasmine rice, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. (My rice was finished by this point, but some may need to cook further or set for 5 minutes to absorb any remaining liquid.)
  5. Add some liquid from vegetable mixture to miso paste. Stir until it reaches a creamy consistency. Remove the vegetable mixture from the heat and add miso into the pot.
  6. Serve miso curry over rice with gomashio on top to taste.


Gomashio is a Japanese condiment sometimes served with various rice dishes. It can be difficult to find in grocery stores, so if you cannot find it, it's very easy to make.

Take toasted sesame seeds and salt (or your salt substitute of choice--I used a mixture of salt and kelp). A good ratio is 5:1 (5 parts sesame seeds to 1 part salt), though it can go as high as 15:1. Grind them together with a mortar and pestle. Serve over the rice and curry.

19 April 2012

Vegan Hot and Sour Soup

So it seems that I disappeared for a few months. I actually didn't mean to do that. My GERD decided to flare up a bit, putting me back on a more bland diet, at the time as I start sticking closer to the cookbook on a lot of recipes. It seemed a little silly to just repeat the cookbook verbatim, not to mention potentially problematic in the legal arena.

This is a recipe I first made several months ago, probably in January. I took a look at two different recipes (Live Hot and Sour Soup from The 30 Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray and Hot and Sour Soup from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester), mixed, matched, and generally messed about with until I had a Hot and Sour soup that I could both enjoy the taste of and still eat with the GERD... and that D might also enjoy.

This is the result of that experiment. This is the first time I've written it down, so bear with me.

Vegan Hot and Sour Soup

A recipe hodgepodge by Kat



  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tsp of Vogue Cuisine Low Sodium Vegebase bouillon
  • 2 tsp of minced garlic (4 cloves) 
  • 2 Tbsp of minced ginger, divided
  • 2 Tbsp of rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp of reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp of Sriracha hot chili sauce (Rooster Sauce)
  • 1 8-oz can of bamboo shoots, drained, sliced thin and cut in half
  • 1 15-oz can of sweet peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp of lime juice
  • 8 oz of firm tofu, diced small
  • 5 dried apricots, diced small
  • 4 green onions, chopped

For Serving Extras

  • Sriracha
  • Sesame oil


  1. Bring water and bouillon to boil over medium heat in a 3 quart saucepan. Add garlic, 1 tablespoon of ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, bamboo, lime juice, apricots, and tofu. 
  2. Cook 12 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add peas and the other tablespoon of ginger. 
  4. Cook 5 more minutes over medium-low heat.
  5. Add green onions. Serve and enjoy.
If you would like to add addition Sriracha and/or sesame oil to individual bowls, these tend to be good additions.

06 February 2012

Red Curry Soup with Rice and Spinach

While I have had a copy of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Veganomicon that I am madly in love with and am a huge supporter of her Teal Cat Project, I never went to her website until very recently. I've been nominally vegetarian since 1998, but it's only been since the beginning of 2012 that I have been 90-95% vegan. (D and I eat vegan when we're at home, mostly because I'm doing the cooking, but if we eat out, it's vegetarian.)

I finally got around to visiting The Post Punk Kitchen, and I've found some many recipes I'm mad for and can't wait to try. If this site isn't the site for vegans to start at, I'm not sure I would be able to believe it.

Oddly enough, though, the first PPK recipe that I tried was Red Curry Soup with Rice and Red Kale. This one actually is quite odd, because I generally try to steer clear of both spicy foods and kale; like the song says, "we just disagree". I decided to give it a go, though, due to my overwhelming love of both jasmine rice and sweet potatoes.

I let spinach tag in for the kale. I also cut the amount of red curry paste down to 1.5 tablespoons, in deference to my GERD.

Overall, I think it was one of the most flavorful soups I have had in a long while. It's definitely one that I'm going to repeat -- and maybe even show off to certain folks that this is what vegan can be and taste like (and not just be salads).

So, for your consideration...

Observations from a Brand-New Vegetarian

As y'all can probably tell -- quite clearly -- from the recipes that have been posted here of late, K has decided to fully embrace the vegan lifestyle. It's far easier to eat vegan at home than to eat out as a vegan (Tallahassee is notoriously veg-unfriendly as a whole, although there are options such as Soul Vegetarian and Sweet Pea Cafe), and I'm discovering that the same holds terribly true in this town as a vegetarian.

Admittedly, I'm new to being vegetarian; I've been flexitarian (only chicken and fish, with the occasional pork and turkey) since 1996 or so, and cutting out meat completely hasn't been easy. But I made the decision to go meat-free when K and I started on the 21-day vegan diet back in January, and I haven't regretted it for one simple reason:

I feel much better and healthier than I have in years.

That isn't lip service either. Since about 2005, I've been slowly but steadily gaining weight and losing energy. Chances are pretty good that this could be a thyroid thing (my younger sister has had hyperthyroidism since she was fifteen, and she's going to be thirty-two in May), but the fact remains that my energy level had dropped from I can work a whole nine hour shift at Walmart in the stock room and still be up to go out when I get home from work to I just got off a nine hour work shift, why the hell should I get up and do something? Because of being so sedentary at both work (I spend most of that nine hours at a desk with occasional bouts of ten minutes to deliver documents around) and at home, my weight went from about 130 lbs -- a healthy weight, although not necessarily the ideal for my 5'4" frame -- to where it currently hovers constantly between 155 to 165 lbs.

Since January, when we started eating totally vegan at home and vegetarian while eating out (even with the minimal options, a lot of places do serve things other than salads that a vegetarian can dine on -- my current favorite treat is Red Elephant's hummus dip served with freshly made pita chips), I've actually felt a little more energetic. True, I can still feel worn out after work, but I'm more likely to be willing to go walking Lake Ella or taking a stroll or bike around the neighborhood. Hell, we actually had the energy and gumption to start rearranging our living room -- which has been pretty much set up and not changed since we moved into the current homestead almost three years ago -- with decent success.

So I'm not going to sit and tout the vegetarian lifestyle as something you guys so have to try, omg, I feel like a new person!; I'm just going to say that it's a good lifestyle fit for me and leave those sorts of decisions up to you.

After all, we're all adults here. The decision shouldn't belong to anyone but yourself.

20 January 2012

Vegan Brunswick Stew

Apparently, this is to be the time of the crappy pictures. What can I say? Generally I'm better at taking photos than I have been proving lately, even on my iPhone, which is what I used on these. To be fair, though, I was trying to balance on the Starbucks eating counter while I was getting jostled by people sadly in need of their caffeine injections, hereto referred to as "coffee zombies".

I'm from Georgia originally. If you know nothing else about the South, we love our food. Brunswick stew was one of the hardest things there was for me to walk away from when I went vegetarian.

Joy of joys, though, I finally found a recipe online for vegan Brunswick stew. (This is, amusingly, what led me to find The Chubby Vegan and, via that site, Meet the Shannons.) Naturally I had to try it out on D and myself. It turns out that it made enough to feed 2 people lunches for 5 full days, with no leftovers.

The verdict? Next time I won't use quite as much liquid smoke. I will also shop around a lot more and see if I can't find butter beans instead of lima beans. (They're the same things, but lima beans are much larger and starchier than butter beans, also called baby lima beans.) I left out the tomatoes and toned down the spice in deference to my GERD. Next time, I will slightly reduce the amount of liquid smoke used, also in deference to my GERD.

Vegan Brunswick Stew
A recipe by Beth Pitchford of SeedStar, found on The Chubby Vegan, adaptations by Kat

  • 1/4 cup of vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 3/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1/4 cup of yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper or crushed red peppers, to taste
  • 1/2 oz of liquid smoke
  • 1 oz of vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 oz of hot sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of vegan margarine (still Earth Balance)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth or 4 cups of water + 4 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 2 packages of frozen vegan meat (I used Morning Star Crumbles)
  • 1 can of English peas (also called sweet peas or early peas)
  • 1 can of creamed corn
  • 1 can of sweet kernel corn
  • 1/4 cup of liquid smoke
  • 1 bag of frozen butter beans (baby lima beans) or lima beans
  1. Melt margarine in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add ketchup, mustard, and vinegar. Stir until smooth. 
  2. Add the garlic, peppers, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and lemon juice. Stir until smooth.
  3. Add brown sugar. Stir until smooth.
  4. Stirring constantly, keep at a low simmer for 10 minutes.
Jimi helped with the cans
  1. In a very large stock pot (I used a 12 quart stockpot to be on the safe side), melt margarine over low heat. Add the potatoes, onions, vegetable broth (or water and bouillon), and the veggie meat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Add the can of peas with its liquid, the butter beans, the two cans of corn, the liquid smoke, and the sauce. Cover.
  3. Cook at a low simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve hot, and enjoy!

18 January 2012

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

Original version of the soup
 So I've made this soup a couple of times now, and this is the first time I could get around to writing down the recipe. Each time I made it, it turned out looking a little different. The first time was definitely more visually appealing (see below), so I'm going to offer some tweaks to the recipe I used for the second go around to try to duplicate the original recipe.

I had the soup this one is based on a few months ago at Bella Bella in Tallahassee, FL. Like most things at Bella Bella, I fell madly in love with it and had to try to make it myself. Each time I've made the soup, though, I think I've moved further and further away from Bella Bella's version and more into creating something that is a bit more mine.

I included white nuts -- also known as gingko nuts -- in the recipe because I used them the first time and felt they added something to the soup. I've only been able to find them at the oriental grocery store, though. If there isn't one of them near your home, I wouldn't worry about adding them.

This soup become something of a standard in our house, because it's very easy to make (yes, I'm shameless that way) and it reheats very well, both of which make it ideal for making in bulk for lunches at work (hence the picture of it in my handy lunch container). The recipe as it stands right now feeds two people a decent sized lunch for two days; depending on how it's put in containers, you might get one more meal for one person out of it.

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
A recipe by Kat

Most recent version of Coconut Curry Lentil Soup, in my
handy lunch container
  • 6 cups of water
  • 4 cubes or teaspoons of vegetable bouillon
  • 1 1/2 cups of lentils (I used green lentils)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tsp of ground ginger (or to taste)
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp of curry (or to taste)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of Great Northern or cannellini beans (I used Great Northern), drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of white nuts (gingo nuts), drained and rinsed (optional)
  • 2 14-oz cans of lite coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of soy milk
  1. In a large soup pot, add the water, bouillon, and lentils. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic, onion, carrot, ginger, cayenne, and curry to the pot. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are beginning to become tender.
  3. Add the drained and rinsed cans of legumes while stirring. Add the two cans of coconut milk and the soy milk. Stir thoroughly to mix. 
  4. Cover again and allow to cook another 20 minutes. Stir carefully before serving.
I usually add a bit of vegan margarine (generally Earth Balance) on top of each bowl when I serve it, just to enhance the flavor a little and brighten it up. You can also add some turmeric for additional color.

01 January 2012

Spicy Rice Bake with Collard Greens, Black-Eyed Peas, and Sweet Potato

I have a couple of confessions to make. I suppose I should get the big one out of the way first. I'm a Southern girl, born and raised in Georgia... but I cannot stand the taste of black-eyed peas. Unfortunately, it's a Southern tradition (and maybe elsewhere too) to eat them on New Years Day. Before I moved out on my own, I would just suck it up and eat them however they were prepared and never touch them again the rest of the year, but now that I'm doing (most of) the cooking, I've taken to dressing them up however I can... and never touching them again the rest of the year. I found this recipe because I wanted my peas and the required greens for the day, also a tradition, to be an (almost) one-dish meal.

My second confession is, you know how sometimes you're following a recipe step-by-step, and it gets to one ingredient, and you look at the amount and go 'no way' but do it anyway? Yeah, I did that with this, with the cayenne pepper. Next time, I'm halving it. It's very delicious, but my stomach did not thank me and my eyes watered. Oh, it was good, though.

Spicy Rice Bake with Collard Greens, Black-Eyed Peas, and Sweet Potato
A recipe by Vegetarians of Washington

  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 cubes (I like triangles better, but it makes no difference)
  • 6 large collard leaves, rinsed and large ribs removed, torn into 1/2" sections (I guestimated this to be about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups of brown rice
  • 1 can of black-eyed peas, rinsed well and drained
  • 6 cups of boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper 
  • 1/4 cup of tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Roo helped by napping
while it baked
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and salt, and saute for about 2 to 3 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add garlic and saute until onion is almost translucent, about another 2 to 3 minutes. 
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and collards. Continue to saute until collards are bright green and wilted, about another 5 minutes. Do not let the greens become dark green.
  4.  Place rice and black-eyed peas in a 9x13 baking pan. Add the sweet potato mixture and cayenne pepper and mix well. Pour 6 cups of boiling water, the tamari (or soy sauce), and the balsamic vinegar into the baking dish and mix carefully. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes), until rice and peas are tender. Stir gently and serve hot.

19 December 2011

White Pita Pizzas

Definitely not the most gorgeous of photographs, is it? I'm none too certain what actually happened with it, other than it came out way too blurry. The meal itself was very good, though, so I'm including it on here. Please forgive the poor photo quality in the meantime.

I went through a stage not that long ago where all I wanted to eat was pizza with white sauce. My stomach being what my stomach being, I couldn't eat anything else until I had had what I was craving. Thankfully, though, this was a fairly quick and easy dish to make. It just takes a little patience and creativity.

White Pita Pizza
A recipe by Kat

  • 6 whole wheat pitas
  • 1 medium onion, sliced or diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon of margarine, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons of whipped cream cheese
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of soy milk
  • 3 drops of hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup of sharp Cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Put pitas on baking tray and warm them slightly while oven is warming. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon of margarine over medium heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook until onion is tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. While onion and garlic are cooking, begin on the sauce. In a small saucepan, melt remaining margarine over medium heat. Add whipped cream cheese and stir constantly until both are melted. Add hot sauce. Add soy milk until the sauce reaches desired consistency. 
  4. Smooth sauce over the warmed pitas. Add garlic and onions on top of sauce. Add Cheddar cheese on top of everything. 
  5. Cook in 350° oven until Cheddar cheese has melted and browned slightly. Remove from oven, and cut into halves. Serve hot and enjoy!

18 December 2011

Grown-up Ramen with Peanut Sauce

I used to have a scale for determining just how broke D and I were. I'm not sure I can recall all of the steps, but I do remember that the bottom rung was (less than) affectionately called "ramen broke". That's below peanut butter sandwiches broke and below macaroni and cheese broke.

Now don't get me wrong: I do love ramen noodles. It's just that they don't love me back. I do eat them when I crave them (usually at breakfast, oddly enough), but sometimes you just want some grown-up ramen noodles.

I designed this to be a quick-and-easy meal. I believe, including prep time, it took less than 20 minutes to make the entire meal. So that is definitely something to keep in mind. It's also a two-pot meal, because it was definitely easier to do the sauce separate from the rest of the dish.

Grown-up Ramen with Peanut Sauce
A recipe by Kat

  • 2 packets of ramen noodles (discard the sauce packets)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 medium stalks of celery, sliced
  • 6 green onions, chopped and divided
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, divided
  • 3 Tablespoons of peanut butter (I used creamy but crunchy would also work)
  • 2 packets of takeout soy sauce (this is about 3 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons of hot sauce
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon of Red Star Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  1. In a medium pot, add one teaspoon of sesame oil. Set heat to medium-low. As it grows warm, it will pop and sizzle. Add the carrot, celery, and white parts of the green onions. Allow to cook until carrot and celery are tender, about five minutes. Set aside.
  2. Briefly rinse out pot and add enough water to cover ramen noodles, at least 3 cups. Turn heat to high. Bring water to boil and add noodles. Cook according to package directions, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. While ramen is cooking, heat peanut butter and soy sauce over medium-low heat. Add other ingredients from honey to nutritional yeast, stirring constantly. Add remaining sesame oil. Add vegetable broth in stages, continuing to stir, until sauce has reached desired consistency. Remove from heat.
  4. Drain ramen noodles and divide them between 2 bowls. Add vegetables to bowls, dividing them in half as well. Pour sauce over noodles and vegetables. Top with remaining green onions. Serve hot and enjoy!

16 December 2011

Very Cheesy Risotto

I wasn't completely sure that this recipe was ready to go live. I've been messing around with it for weeks now. Though I'm happy with the taste of it, I can never quite get a photo of it that pleases me.

The major downside of trying to do a cooking blog is that photos of the recipes are necessary. However, I also have four cats, three of which are constantly curious about what's going on in the kitchen. It also means that my kitchen and eating area remain in a constant state of disarray, making photos less than easy -- and potentially less than appealing. (Seconds after I snapped this photo, Roo decided the cheese in this smelled delicious and he needed some Right Now. See? You could have had a giant orange feline head in the picture.)

I can't say for certain that I got my risotto recipe anywhere in particularly. I took many various recipes and edited them and messed about with them, until I had something that was delicious to both D and me. This is the result of that. At this point, I'm willing to say that this is now an original Kat creation, yeah?

See? We do eat things beside soup!

Very Cheese Risotto
A recipe from Kat

  • 1 1/2 cup of arborio rice
  • 4 to 5 cups of vegetable broth or water and vegetable bouillon cubes (1 cube per cup of water)
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine (I used Moscato because I like the dry-sweet taste of it)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (I used Vidalia)
  • 1-2 medium carrots, skinned and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons of reduced fat Cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons of reduced fat Mozzarella cheese
  1. In a large saucepan or pot, melt the margarine over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Add chopped carrots and onion, and cook until carrots are tender and onion is translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth in a large pot. It should be just below boiling or at a rolling boil when added to the rice.
  3. Add arborio rice to the pot.
  4. Add the white wine to the rice, carrots, and onion. Stir until it has been absorbed by the rice.
  5. Add the vegetable broth a half-cup at a time to the rice. You will need to stir the rice until each half-cup of broth is absorbed before you add the next half-cup. 
  6. Keep adding the liquid until rice is tender. This will take about 20 minutes. I can usually set a timer on this.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses. Serve hot and enjoy!