I’m not sure how many inches of snow we’ve gotten so far; snow tends to melt away quickly in Colorado.  At least a foot of it.  This is Bella, showing you.  (Yes, she wanted to be out there…although briefly.)feb22_bella2

I decided it was a weekend to roast vegetables.  So I, along with the other 152,000 people that knew it was going to snow big this weekend stocked up on food Friday night.

vegan, gluten –

  • 6 beets
  • a lot of carrots, peeled
  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • more handfuls than you think of brussel sprouts
  • a head of cauliflower
  • oregano
  • cumin
  • salt & pepper
  • several glugs of olive oil

roast vegChop carrots, cauliflower and brussel sprouts into bite-size pieces.  Toss with oil, oregano, salt & pepper.  Roast those veggies on trays lined with aluminum foil (because I am lazy and have a hard time with blackened pans; I reuse the foil, though).  Roast beets and sweet potatoes in their own pockets of foil.  Don’t bother washing.  When tender, take out of oven, let cool, and remove skins under water.  Chop beets and toss in with other veg. IMG_0195 IMG_0199

Crush cumin, toss in with potatoes and mash.

Serve roast veggies on potato mash.

Holy cow, it’s awesome.  I couldn’t wait to eat them to cool, I kept popping them into my mouth.  Not a fan of any of those above veggies?  Roast them; you will be.

Red Chile Sauce

Posted: February 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

I made this a few days in advance of making the Red Chile Seitan Tamales.  (I will post those later…)

  • 3 – 4 ounces dried chiles (there’s five ounces in a large bag of anchos)
  • 2 tbsp peanut or corn oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Italian meatloaf, vegan

Posted: February 9, 2015 in vegan recipes

I now have an actual nursing job in which I don’t work weekends (or Mondays right now).  I do four 10s.  So…I’m making not just dinner for us, but enough for lunches for the week and to give a few meals to my mother-in-law, who isn’t cooking so much anymore.  This was another vegan experiment today.  The single recipe serves four, so I doubled it.  I think for us, that’s the best way to do this recipe.

Source:  Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli

vegan meatloaf


  •  2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small eggplant, diced into 1/2 inch cubes *
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 tomato (or two romas)
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs (I used panko)
  • 1/4 c vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt *
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

* I actually didn’t add the 1 1/2 tsp of salt because I cubed and then salted the eggplant to remove the bitterness.  (I didn’t measure the salt.)  The recipe doesn’t do this, but I like eggplant better salted a bit before I prepare it.

Preheat the oven to 350 deg.  Brush (or spray) an 8 inch square pan with oil.  Heat oil in a medium-high heat in a large skillet and saute onion and eggplant until soft and lightly browned and veggies have reduced in size.  If veggies begin to stick, add a little water to the skillet.  Stir in garlic and let cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.  Transfer to a large bowl and add beans, rice, tomato, bread crumbs, broth, salt pepper and basil.  Mix and mash the mixture with a large spoon (or your hands) until the mixture holds together.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

Transfer mixture into the prepared pan and pack it down very firmly using the back of a large spoon.  It is important to pack it firmly so that it holds together while baking.  In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix tomato sauce and brown sugar.  Pour the tomato sauce on top of the meatloaf and cover the top of the loaf pan with foil.

Bake for 40 minutes, covered, then remove foil, and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

I haven’t had an entire serving, just a bite, but I loved this.  It’s more flavorful than expected, brighter (which doesn’t make much sense).  I think it’s going to be filling, too, with the beans and rice.  I think it will also be nice to toss a little parmesan on top, but it may not need it, either.

So I’ve been cooking every week, mostly vegan, since the first of the year.  Back to adventuring in food, I suppose.

Source:  Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli

vegan, gluten freeIMG_0184

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (8oz) pckg of tempeh, sliced in half
  • 1 c raw cashews
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 8 oz mushrooms sliced (I actually used about 4 oz)
  • paprika for garnish

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over med-high heat and arrange tempeh pieces in the skillet.  Using tongs or a spatula to flip the pieces, brown tempeh on each side, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

Preheat the oven to 350 deg.  Lightly grease (or spray) a 9 x 13 pan.

In a blender, puree cashews, water, garlic and salt.  Transfer to a lg bowl.  Add thyme and scallions to the cashew cream and mix with a spoon.

In the prepared pan, arrange mushrooms and tempeh, and pour the cashew cream on top.  Dust the top with paprika and cover the pan with foil.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft.  Garnish with fresh thyme before serving and adjust salt to taste.


What impressed me with this recipe is how fast this meal came together.  It’s filling, and good, and fairly fuss-free.

You want to know if it’s really creamy, and it’s creamy-like.  I don’t take a bite and say, “Gosh, I wish this was cream of mushroom soup.”  I’m actually sort of indifferent to cream of mushroom soup, because mostly, I think it tastes like salt.  (Probably because I’ve never had homemade.)

I’ve been making these while watching consecutive episodes Carl Sagan’s Cosmos…on the same channel that’s going to have Neil Tyson deGrasse’s version tonight.  Listening to Sagan’s loopy and melodious voice is very soothing.

It also makes me think about a time when more people watched this show, because there were only three choices of shows on television at any given time.  Maybe more people were exposed to science then.  I might be getting old, and therefore, cranky, but it seems to me that I knew a good amount of this stuff about science in my twenties….astronomy, chemistry, physics, math…and I hated the sciences at the time.  And I see a lot of young adult patients now, and they want more of drug X than drug Y because drug X “has more milligrams.”  (Even though narcotic Y is more than fourteen times stronger.)  I’m not sure that it’s simply a matter of my patients coming from disadvantaged school systems….there is some of that.  But accidents happen to any person, and it has nothing to do with socioeconomic class….more to do with relatively younger age, and being male than anything else.

I had a college-educated young man who stopped taking antibiotics because he wanted to “heal naturally.”  I told him that his amoxicillin originated from mold, and unless he wanted his infection to worsen and risk his foot getting full-blown gangrene….take his damn antibiotics.  I didn’t say the “, you moron”, but I’m sure he heard it.  Gangrene and sepsis are very natural ways to die.  Stupid.

I’m glad this show, Cosmos, is being rebooted.  Our national dialogue allows Fox News commentators at the table….people who do not “believe” in global warming.  It’s as if the opinion of any of us minimally-haired primates had anything to do with facts, weather patterns, the density of our atmosphere…  It’s not just the radical right, either.  The radical left can be just as bad….as the college kid who wants his infection cured by….I don’t know…aromatherapy and meditation…shows.  I’m not sure when we saw “science” as “optional.”

I blame two things:  the religious right’s money forced the Republicans to take them seriously.  Second, the furthest liberal left told us that we are a multicultural society, and the straight white man’s point of view is no better than the black lesbian woman’s (and every other iteration of difference).  Which is incredibly well-meaning, and is near and dear to many Americans that we are a democracy.  However, that became toxic.  When everyone is equal, and no point of view is better than the other….that means no point of view is better than the other.  It is true that my neighbor, who might be a moron, casts one vote, just like I do.  But at an extreme, it also means that we can’t say that Carl Sagan is better prepared to design a high school science curriculum than Jerry Falwell.  The religious right used this extension of the left’s ideas to get a louder place at the table of national dialogue.

And years later, Fox News was spat out unto the world.

It’s intuitive to us that a 14 year old has a voice that needs to be valued, and respected….for the voice that it is, for the potential that it has, for his unique point of view, which is often be fresh and creative.  I love my stepson and his interesting view of the world.  And he should not be running the country.  He is growing, and changing, and has not incorporated lessons into his life yet.  And he will. But while he is able to make responsible decisions about some things, he is not yet able to be responsible in other ways.  We know this.

But we don’t apply that to the conversation on global warming, on stewardship of the planet, or our responsibilities to other countries, or a million other things.  Because we treat the commentators on Fox News, or some of the yahoos we pay to go to DC as if their points of view belong in adult decision-making.

Yup, I’m saying that the opinions of the creationists and naysayers of global warming are not grown up.  Because they cannot incorporate and integrate ideas of mysticism, feelings and belief into the facts of science in front of them and come to a whole.  Not one sane person in this country is telling them not to have their religion. Go worship.  But unless you have solid math skills, you should not be calculating taxes of the citizenry.  Or allocating that money to state schools, or choosing what textbooks those schools are allowed to have.  And partly because of this….my patients come to me saying they’re not taking prescribed antibiotics, and taking pills that have more milligrams in them.

So I’m glad we’ve got Carl Sagan back on television, and Neil Tyson deGrasse.  Because American culture’s gotten goofy and stupid.

Rant over.

Here’s the recipe:

The Meat-Free Monday Cookbok, by the McCartneys


  • 1 lb potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch diceImage
  • 1 cup frozen peas, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds (seeds from 4 pods….my Indian grocery was out of pods, so I did 1/2 tsp instead)
  • 1/2 tsp black onion seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (I left this out)
  • 1 fat garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp freshly grated ginger (I went light on the ginger for Mark’s Wisconsin palette)
  • 1 large green chile, seeded & chopped (I used two anaheims to make up for the onion)
  • 1/s tsp tumeric powder (oops, I actually forgot this)
  • 1/4 tsp chile powder (this, too)
  • 1 heaping tbsp mango chutney (left out because I’m serving with tamarind, which I like way better)
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro (which I didn’t have)
  • 10 oz filo pastry
  • melted butter, to brush (I used ghee, to try and get a more authentic flavor)

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender.  Add peas and cook for a further 30 seconds.  Drain and set aside.  Tip cumin, coriander, cardamom into a frying pan and toast over medium heat for 1 minute.  Coarsely grind onion seeds using mortar and pestle.

ImageHeat oil in a large frying pan, and add onion and cook until soft.  Add the garlic, ginger and chile and cook for 30 seconds then add the spices.  Continue to cook for 1 minute, then add the diced potatoes and peas.  Mix well and cook for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from the heat, add the chutney and chopped cilantro, and season well.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Lay a sheet of phyllo pastry on the work surface and brush with butter/ghee.  Lay another pastry sheet on top and cut into strips 3 inches wide, then brush with butter/ghee.  Put a spoonful of the potato mixture onto the top corner of each strip.  Fold over to make a triangle and continue folding down the length of the strip to completely encase the filling.  Repeat with the remaining filling and pastry.  Arrange on baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes until golden and crisp.  Serve with chutney.

These are lighter than your typical samosas because of the phyllo.  Really tasty.  Not sure if I’d do this recipe often, because it is a lot of work.  I doubt I’d try freezing these, because they’re so delicate.  Of course, to make a meal, you might have to eat twenty of them.  Good stuff.  Not WOW, but good.  I flavored these somewhat for Wisconsin palette…and maybe if I hadn’t, my palette would be WOW.  But they are light, and good.  Very much an appetizer.

We swung by Island Naturals, which is sort of the Whole Foods of Hawai’i. They have their own cookbook, and I found this.

Source: Island Naturals Cookbook by Gina Franchini

vegan, gluten free20130925-132836.jpg

  • 1 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 c peanuts, chopped (or put in a bag, and banged on the counter)
  • 1 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 1/4 c soy sauce (shoyu)
  • 1/4 c cilantro, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • at least one block of extra firm tofu, drained well

This makes a lot of marinade, enough for two or three blocks of tofu. Throw the marinade together when the tofu is drained. Cut the tofu block into edible-sized triangles, and soak in the marinade. For anywhere from 10 minutes to overnight. Place tofu gently on rimmed baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly puffed, which is about 20 minutes.

The sugar in the chili sauce carmelizes, so don’t bake this on a naked pan, by the way.  Good stuff.  Serve over rice, and to make it a dinner meal, it needs a steamed green thing of some kind….just not sure which.  Peppers would be great, but then, I think peppers are great with everything.

Simple chana dal

Posted: April 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

So I haven’t cooked anything that requires more than four ingredients in several months.  It’s the new job thing….and today was an incredibly short NINE HOUR DAY!  WOO!!!  Mostly, I’ve been eating out.

So this is the kind of thing that’s considered a laughably simple recipe for normal people.  It’s fine cuisine for the way I’ve been eating for the past few months.

source:  Mark Bittman article:  Chana Dal

  • 1 cup split chickpeas (chana dal) (I actually used masoor dal, because I had masoor or urad…having an Indian grocery in your back pocket is a good thing.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf, preferably Indian
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed-red-chili flakes (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

Easy food is good.  It’s good food, and easy.