Joe’s Corner: Hearty Seitan Ragout

This may be called a ragout but when I cooked it felt more like a stew. Then again I don’t even know what a ragout is. After the initial cooking of the seitan, tofurky and vegetables this pretty much involved a large pot of broth, the vegetables and spices. And what’s nice is that you cook the pasta with it, rather than serving it like a sauce. I had fun with this dish; it has a lot of wiggle room with how you spice it. I was constantly tasting it as I added more of one spice or another. I also thought the cheese taste never really came out, and honestly would have been just as good if not better without it. Some dishes are made for cheese, and some don’t need it. If the cheese isn’t a large part of the taste why add it? I think this is one of those situations, but to each their own. Also, using tofurky sausage still didn’t get me away from the need to remove the “sausage” casing. Having never done this, I didn’t quite figure it out… So I just cut it into slices. The original recipe calls for ground meats, but the sliced tofurky along with the cubed seitan gave this dish a very different texture. I enjoyed it. This was one of my favorites so far.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground seitan
1/2 lb tofu sausage (italian preferred), casing removed
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
4 beefsteak tomatoes, diced
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tbsp parsley
1 (16 oz) can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup uncooked elbow pasta (I used ziti)
6 oz fresh baby spinach leaves, washed (didn’t have this either unfortunately)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oil in sauce-pot over medium-high heat. Add seitan, onion, and pepper then cook until  seitan has browned. Add garlic and cook an additional minute.
2. Add broth, spices, basil, tomatoes and beans. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and cook until pasta is done.
3. Add spinach and cook just until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve hot with fresh crusty bread.

I added mushrooms and used 2 cups pasta instead.  As you can guess this is a very versatile dish, but without adding those I think it would have been too light, but maybe that’s just me.


Tell me Eyes

Tofu Tetrazzini 

I am writing this while trying to be patient and allow the delicious peach crisp currently baking in my oven to cook the full time…and not go at it with a fork.  There is just something about the smell of baked peaches that just makes me very happy!  So I am just relaxing, catching up on some of the recipes from before my vacation.  In theory if I do another post later this evening I should be all caught up, but we shall see!
This recipe is an example of what happens when I go out to eat.  I see something yummy that involves meat (in this case chicken) and start thinking of how I can make that vegetarian.  Occasionally my brain will then start wondering if I can take it a step further and make it vegan but in this case that did not happen.  So the chicken became tofu and the broth became veggie based rather then whatever it was before.   The result was delicious, this is a recipe that will be making a regular rotation at my house!


  • 1/2 lb cooked spaghetti (angel hair will also work)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups tofu, cubed
  • 1 cup eggplant, cut into 1/2 in. rings and then quartered
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • assorted seasonings to taste (basil, parsley, oregano, and bay leaves all found their way into mine
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish
  2. heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat.  Add the eggplant and tofu and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the tofu has begun to turn golden on the sides.  Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Set Aside.
  3. Meanwhile in a large saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Stir in flour until smooth, creating a roux.  Turn heat to low and gradually stir in the milk and broth. 
  4. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil for a minute, stirring constantly.  Add sherry and seasonings.  Stir in the cooked pasta along with the tofu vegetable mixture.  Pour everything into the prepared baking dish and top with the cheese.  
  5. Bake 30minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly and lightly browned.   Enjoy!
This dish should have made enough for two dinners and two lunches but someone really enjoyed the dish and wound up eating their lunch along with dinner…

Peaches and Cream

Cakey Maple Peach Cookies

Two posts in one night?!? Say it is so!

To me there are only a few things that really say SUMMER, and I’m not talking about the heat and the humidity that make you feel as if you just took a shower as soon as you walk outside.  One of those things: Peaches!  Yummy moist juicy sticky peaches.  These peaches are even better than the average because these are fresh from the farm hand-picked peaches.  On Saturday Joe and I got up early, and headed out to Purcellville and the Crooked Run Orchard.  I went here once last year with some friends to pick apples (20lbs!) and couldn’t wait to go back to get some more fresh fruits.  I wound up leaving with 5lbs of peaches and almost 4lbs of blackberries.  While the majority of the peaches are on reserve for the b-day cake I’m making this weekend, the ones left needed a purpose.  So after looking over a new cookie book I decided to try my hand at making some vegan peach cookies, and as an ode to my trip last week I decided to use maple syrup.  The result was an amazingly moist cake-like cookie.

2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks of soybutter, softened (Willow Run)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 large peach, pitted and minced (cut in a bowl in order to save the juice!)

1. Preheat oven to 375
2.  In a small bowl mix the flour and salt.  Set aside.
3. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar.  Blend in the applesauce and then add the maple syrup, mixing well.  Stir in the peaches adding as much juice as possible.  
4. Spoon out the mixture onto lightly greased cookie sheets or onto sheets covered with parchment paper.  Bake for 13-15 minutes.  Once removed allow to cool on the sheets.  Enjoy!

This was my first attempt at making cookies sans recipe, which is saying something since this time last year my roommate I wasn’t “allowed” to bake cookies.  Something about burning cookies…and flat cookies…and cookie dough caramelizing on a baking stone.    

Maple Peach Cookies on Foodista


Tall and Thin and Young and Lovely

Green Curry Eggplant with Coconut Rice

I have been going blog happy lately, trying to see what all is already out there and where I fit in.  I’m also trying to get an idea of what works for a food blog, and what might not work best for my food blog.  I’m not exactly sure what my final look and feel will be but I do know that this is something that I want to keep doing.  I am also hopeful that someone will see my recipes, all the flavors and combinations, and become inspired to cut the meat out of their life.  However I think a more practical wish is that someone will see a recipe and maybe go vegetarian for a day…it could happen…right?
This dish is one of my earliest attempts at non-recipe cooking.  I LOVE Thai food and while at college I was cut off from this essential food group.  So I started goofing around, testing out different curry powders/mixtures along with different fruit and vegetable.  Some things worked well: eggplant, asparagus, PINEAPPLE, tomato and peppers.  While for my palate some things did NOT work: squash, zucchini, and carrots (which was a shock).  I also found that potatoes are AWESOME with red curry but not so much with green curry.  So as follows is my favorite green curry recipe, minus asparagus because they didn’t have any at the market the other day.

For Curry:
– 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
– 1 1/2 tbsp green curry paste
-1 small eggplant, quartered
– 8oz extra firm tofu, cubed
-1 tomato, quartered
– 1/2 cup pineapple, chunks
– 1 red pepper, sliced
– 1 green pepper, sliced
– 1 cup mushrooms
– 1 (or more) green Thai Chiles, seeded and halved (optional)

1. Heat a wok over medium-high heat, add the coconut milk and the green curry paste.  Bring to a low simmer and heat for 10minutes stirring occasionally. 
2. Add the eggplant.  Cook for 5minutes, add the tofu and cook another 5minutes.  Add the tomato, pineapple, red pepper, green pepper, and mushrooms ( and chiles).  Simmer for 15minutes then serve over the coconut rice.

For Rice
– 1/4 cup coconut, shredded and unsweetened
– 1 cup rice
– 1/2 cup coconut milk
– 1 1/2 cups water (or vegetable broth)

1. In a medium saucepan lightly toast the coconut until starting to brown over medium heat. Turn heat to high and add the rice, coconut milk, and water.  Bring to a boil and then stir.  Turn heat to low and cook for 20-25minutes, or until rice is tender.  Enjoy! 

Quick note: When buying your Green Curry paste make sure to check the label.  A lot of green curries include shrimp paste so make sure you are buying one that is vegetarian/vegan friendly.  I normally use on that I get from World Market that has the added bonus of being kosher but most Asian grocery stores have multiple varieties.  I have also been told good things about the curry pastes at Whole Foods but have yet to give those a whirl, however I’m sure they are amazing!


I Get Around

Streusel Coffeecake

I know yesterday’s post said I was getting ready to leave for Lake Placid but in reality….that was a post I had started the day before leaving that wound up being stuck as a draft and not being posted. I also had every intention of blogging while on the trip but I was too distracted by the lakes and the mountains and the pile of books I brought with me. Needless to say all of these recipes are from the week before I left, while I was trying to empty my fridge of anything and everything that I thought could go bad. This however is not one of those recipes, this was my attempt at doing something for breakfast. As a disclaimer, I am NOT a breakfast person. I don’t enjoy cooking or eating in the AM and my idea of a balanced breakfast is an iced caramel latte in one hand and my cell phone in the other. However, Joe is a breakfast person so I’m trying to find a happy place in the middle, something light enough that it doesn’t upset my stomach while being filling enough to get him through the morning. This might not be the healthiest breakfast out there but it smells amazing and is sure to wake up any sleepyhead.

For the Cake
1.5 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup Smart Balance (butter/margarine/etc)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple sauce
2/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the Streusel Topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp Smart Balance
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
2. In a small bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
3. In a large bowl cream the butter. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the applesauce and the milk, fully mixing in.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until just moist. Add the vanilla extract and stir until smooth.
5. In a small bowl add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in the Smart Balance using two knives.
6. Spread the steusel mixture in the bottom of a bundt pan. Pour in the cake batter and place in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, use a toothpick to check for doneness.

I have mentioned before how amazing silicon bakeware is and this is another awesome example of that. I just place the pan on a plate and pushed it right on out!  Also I recently noticed that not all Smart Balance spreads are Vegan, I’m not sure why that is but that’s how it is.  I cheat and check for the pareve label on top which indicates that the item is considered neutral and free from all-animal products. 
Home Cooking · Italian

On a Jetplane

Caprese Spinach Pizza


Onion, Olive, and Pineapple Pizza

My bags are packed, I’m ready to go…but my flight doesn’t leave until tomorrow. Starting tomorrow I will be out of Northern Virginia and away from this searing heat! I can’t wait to be somewhere that doesn’t have the beltway or 66 or the toll road. Instead of commuting down highways I will be commuting around or over the lake. I can’t wait!

In other news I am trying to be more organized and have started doing menus at the start of the week, along with my shopping list.  I’m hoping this will prevent 6PM runs to Wegmans but I’m not entirely hopeful about that. We shall also see if this will also last through the summer, or if this will be another good idea that gets forgotten/neglected/ignored when Fall comes around.

So tonight’s recipes are good for cleaning out the fridge, mostly because there is no way to go wrong when it comes to pizza!

For Crust (from Joy of Cooking w/changes)
1 1⁄3 cups warm water
2 1⁄4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 1⁄2 to 3 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder

1. Combine the water and yeast in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
2. Mix by hand or on low speed for about 1 minute. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with a dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. 
3. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly coated with olive oil and turn it once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. 
4. Preheat the oven to 475°F.  Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat it for 45 minutes.
5. Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Roll each piece into a ball and let rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 10 to 15 minutes. Prepare the desired toppings.
6. One at a time, flatten each ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 12-inch round, rolling and stretching the dough. Place each dough circle on a prepared baking sheet, or, if using a baking stone, place them on rimless baking sheets or baker’s peels dusted with cornmeal. Lift the edges and pinch to form a lip.
7. Use your fingertips to push dents in the surface of the dough, to prevent bubbling, and let rest for about 10 minutes. The pizza is now ready to be topped and baked.

For the Pizzas:
Pizza 1: Spinach Caprese
1 cup fresh spinach
1 tomato, quartered
6 basil leaves
3 oz buffalo mozzarella, sliced

1. Place all the ingredients on the pizza, making sure that each slice gets one basil leaf and one tomato quarter.  Bake on preheated pizza stone for 15-20minutes, or until crust is a golden brown.

Pizza 2: OOP
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup black olives, sliced and pitted
1/2 cup pineapples, chunks
1 tomato, mashed
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Pour the mashed tomato mixture on the pizza, keeping 1/2 in from the crust in order to prevent a fun mess while baking.  Add toppings as desired.  Bake on preheated pizza stone for 15-20minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

I’m not sure what it is about pineapples and onion and olives but something about that taste combination just lets me know that all is right with the world.  The first time I had this was totally by accident, a pizza that was suppose to be all pineapple, half onion, half olive wound up being all pineapple, ALL onion, and ALL olive.  That mistake wound up being one of the best things to happen to me food wise in college since that was my first experience with olives.  



Zucchini Rice Casserole

It’s still hot…and it will keep being hot apparently. This has resulted in a cranky husky, which has resulted in short tempers because a cranky husky has a very large effect on the rest of the house hold. This basically translates to me cooking dishes that involve very little hands-on work. Ingredients that I can throw into a pot/pan/slow cooker and then walk away from for awhile, normally hiding in front of a fan with a book. This is one of those recipes. This recipe is also one of the first recipes I ever really cooked from scratch…no cookbook, no notecard from my mom, just me trying to find a way to use some amazing produce we got from Joe’s family farm in western Maryland. I was given two jars of diced yellow squash and zucchini, ready to be used…begging to be used. My other mission was to incorporate cheese, something that Joe might possibly like more than me. So with that lofty goal in mind I set off, armed with a base recipe for cooking brown rice in a casserole. The result was delishious but I knew I could do better, and this is my final result.

1 1/2 cups brown rice
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups yellow squash, diced
2 cups zucchini, diced
2 green peppers, chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 cups skim milk
3 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese, divided
1 cup corn
2 tsp EVOO
8oz tofu, cubed
salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Pour rice into a 9×13 baking dish.
3. Bring broth to a simmer in small saucepan, and pour into the rice along with the zucchini, squash, bell peppers, and onion. Cover with foil. Bake for 45minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes, or until rice is tender.
4. Meanwhile, whisk milk and flour in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 5minutes, reduce heat to low. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, allowing it to melt before adding more. Once the cheese has finished melting, add the corn and cook stirring constantly for an additional 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Remove the dish frojm the oven and stir in the tofu and the cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Pepper Jack cheese on top. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is starting to bubble and brown. Serve hot!