Monday, December 31, 2007

French Toast

French Toast, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

French Toast from the Cafe Flora Cookbook with grappa and mint soaked cherries and vanilla marscapone cream.

Blurry (But Tasty) Chaats

This is a blurry cameraphone picture of the food we ordered from Vik's Chaat Corner in Berkeley. We've been hearing about the place for a long time from various people, but I kept forgetting to bring the address with me if we ever went to the East Bay. About two weeks ago, I remembered to jot it down when we went over to Emeryville to get another kitchen cart from IKEA. So we dropped in on Vik's and the hype was not exaggerated. On the left is Aloo Paratha, in the middle, two veggie Samosas with Pindi Cholle, and on the right, a veggie Dosa. All of this with Chai and a Mango Lassi? $19.50.

We ate this for lunch, and then had the leftovers for dinner. It was very, very good.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Delicious Winter Cherries

Cherries, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

These cherries were in the bargain bin at our natural foods store because they were on their last leg, so we snatched them up. With them we made cherries soaked in grappa and mint with marscapone vanilla cream from the Dolce Italiano book. They are delicious, but very strong in the alcohol department, so small doses are recommended. We will probably have the rest of these on french toast in the morning.

Indian Burritos

Indian Burrito, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

This is an Indian spiced burrito from the Heaven's Banquet cookbook. It has broccoli and yellow pepper, black eyed peas, rice with carrots and spices, corn salsa with avocado, and some cheddar cheese. What makes it all Indian flavored is the asefetida that is in all of the ingredients. In this case the asefetida is sort of used as an onion substitute since there are no onions in the recipe. The Heaven's Banquet cookbook has all kinds of recipes from all over the world with a little bit of an Indian bent. This is the first recipe that we have made from the book, but if recipe is indicative of the quality of the recipes in this book, it is a real winner. I ate a huge burrito for dinner and then ate a huge burrito the next morning with the leftovers. I got the book as a remainder at some warehouse bookstore for $4--quite a bargain.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

Our Christmas dinner was pretty low key. We had one last chicken breast in the freezer so we split it in half and made it the same way we did for thanksgiving. As a side we had a roasted potato, pea, and pinenut salad with mint and shallot dressing from the vegetarian meat and potatoes cookbook (I really love this book--no duds yet!). The meal was ready in less than an hour, but it was still very satisfying.

Christmas Eve Brownies

Brownies, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

In an effort to try and make Christmas Eve a little bit special, we made chestnut brownies--here shown served with soy whip cream. The recipe is from Dolce Italiano. We had some italian chestnuts in a vacuum packed package that we got on sale at the store some time ago and were looking for a recipe in which we could use them to their full potential. Chestnut brownies seemed like a good choice. We had to obtain chestnut flour and grappa in order to make them, which proved fairly elusive. We went to 3 or 4 different places looking for chestnut flour and finally scored some at Andronico's--an upscale San Francisco supermarket-- and after passing over $30 bottles of grappa at other places, we got some cheap grappa at Bevmo (which actually turned out to be a pretty good grappa, but then I wouldn't know the difference). Sadly the chestnut flour was the same price as the grappa, $10, but we have plenty of both left over.

The brownies turned out more like a chocolate cake than brownies, but they were tasty--and I am not usually a big fan of chocolate. The chestnuts and chestnut flour gave the brownies a very earthy flavor that was very nice. I am eager to try some of the other recipes in this book because they all sound so delicious.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tandoori Tempeh

Tempeh, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

This is tandoori tempeh from (where else?) the Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook on rice with baked sweet potatoes and kale with cranberries. The sweet potatoes were baked in my usual olive oil and maple syrup fashion. The kale was a spur of the moment recipe to use up some left over kale (from a huge bunch that we couldn't use all of for another recipe), half of a red onion and some cranberries.

Kale and Cranberries:

1/2 red onion
1/2 cup cranberries
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups chopped kale
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4-1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Cook onions in olive oil and a little salt on medium heat until soft (about 5 minutes), then add the red wine, cranberries, and brown sugar. Cook the cranberries until they start to pop, then add about 1/2 water and the kale. Cover until the kale is wilted. Stir and cover again and cook until the kale is done to your desired doneness (about 10 minutes). Then add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. This recipe will turn out a little tart. If you want to mellow out the tartness, you can add some more brown sugar


Cheesesteaks, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

I totally forgot that this picture was on our camera, so unexpectedly I bring you vegetarian Philly Cheesesteaks from the Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook. These are so simple and very yummy. They can be made in about 15 minutes and taste very similar to the vegetarian cheesesteaks that we got in Philly at Gianna's. They are just seitan, peppers, and onions cooked in a pan with seasoning with some cheese added at the end and all placed in a roll. Probably not the healthiest thing you can eat, but if you cut down on the cheese, there is only a tablespoon of oil in the whole recipe. These are great when you want a filling meal in a very short period of time.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Potato and Artichoke "Cake"

DSC01366.JPG, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

I can't take credit for making this one--this was all the "grape crusader's" doing. I picked out the recipe without realizing how complicated it was, but it came out soooo tasty and I really appreciated all the hard work that went into this one. The recipe is from a cookbook called "Verdura, Vegetables Italian Style," which is full of italian vegetable recipes. I think we picked it up at one of the annual library book sales and then promptly forgot that we had it until we got a separate bookshelf for all of our cookbooks and placed them near the kitchen.

The cake has artichokes, onion, tomatoes, potatoes, eggs, fresh mozzarella, and a bunch of herbs and bread crumbs in it. These ingredients are layered (the eggs are mixed with riced potatoes) and then it is all baked in a cake pan. It was super delicious and very filling because of the eggs. We used jarred artichokes instead of fresh because fresh ones were too expensive--but it still turned out very good. This would make a great brunch food! If you have a couple of hours to blow on making brunch that is. This recipe is way more complicated than most of the other recipes in this book. We also had a pasta with peas out of this book that was super quick and super tasty. Sadly it looks like the book is out of print and sellers on Amazon are trying to sell it for some ridiculous price.

Update: It looks like the book is back in print--we've updated the link.


DSC01369.JPG, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

Yes we have been lax on posting lately. This is "candied" sweet potatoes, broccoli, and seitan with a brandy reduction sauce. The sweet potatoes were first baked in their skins until soft, then peeled, chopped and placed in a baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil and maple syrup. The sweet potatoes are then baked again for about 20 minutes so that they caramelize a bit. The broccoli was steamed and then topped with garlic and lemon juice. The brandy seitan is from the vegetarian meat and potatoes cookbook and contains ginger, brandy and veggie broth. The recipe calls for mushrooms, but we didn't have any so those were left out. This cookbook has not disappointed yet!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

BBQ Tempeh Buns

This is an adapted version of "Cha Siu Bau," BBQ Pork Buns, from "Dim Sum and Other Chinese Street Food." This recipe makes 8 buns.

This has always been one of my favorite things, but I don't like BBQ pork so much, and I do like BBQ tempeh.

You need some tempeh, about one 8 oz package (or less, the original recipe made 16 buns, which would normally hold 12 oz of BBQ pork. Tempeh is sold in 8 oz packs, so halfing the recipe, as I have done here, makes a little more filling than buns. But the leftover BBQ Tempeh works real well in a sandwich, or in this case, we ate it for breakfast the next morning, with grits.) Here's that tempeh, diced into pea sized cubes.

The diced tempeh should be marinaded in a ziploc bag with 1/4 cup BBQ sauce: (2 T Ketchup, 1 and 1/2 tsp dijon mustard, 1 T molasses, 1 and 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar,) and about 1 or 2 T of fermented black beans.

While this sits, get to work on the dumplings! Hurry! They take two hours!
First step, since this is a risen dough, we make a sponge, which checks the vitality of the yeast.
1/2 tsp active dry yeast, 2 T tepid water (right at body temp or slightly above), 1/4 cup cake or pastry flour, low gluten is important. Dissolve the yeast in the water, mix in the flour, let this sit for 15 minutes. It should start to bubble and rise, if it does, move on! If not, get some different yeast.
Add 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup of tepid water. Mix this all in with a spoon and then cover the bowl with saran wrap, let this sit somewhere warm until it rises and doubles its volume, 40 minutes to 2 hours. If you live in Florida, anywhere is fine, if not, use an oven that was heated to low (200 degrees) for a few minutes, and then turned off and let sit for five minutes.
Here's a picture after the 1st rise, it's been punched down, and kneaded for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface, then put back into the bowl. On the side is 2 T more tepid water, and 1 and a half tsp of shortening, softened to room temp.

Massage this warm fat and water into the dough, it will be sticky, seriously.

Then, on a lightly floured surface, knead in a final 1/2 cup flour with 1 tsp baking powder added.

Cover with saran wrap and then, back into the warm oven for another 40 minutes. Here it is after the 2nd rise.

Cut up one half an onion, one clove of garlic. Sautee along with the tempeh in 1 T of peanut oil over medium to medium high heat. Get some good carmelization going.

Cut out eight little three inch squares out of wax paper and set them aside. After the dough has risen, roll it into a snake with your hands on a lightly floured surface, and cut it into eight bits. Take a bit, pat and pull it into a circle. Let it rest in your palm, the dough will stick to your hand, but it sticks to everything else in a much worse way. The trick is to move fast, so...

Quickly! Fill the circles with 1 to 2 T of the filling.

Pull the stretchy dough up around the filling and set them on the wax paper. Transferring the dumplings from here to there is now much easier. Just pick up the edges of the paper. The dumplings will stick to the paper, so serve them with the paper on, and tell your guests that you meant to do that. It's like a cupcake, and peeling the paper off is part of the fun.

Dumplings get steamed vigorously for 15 minutes, covered.

They will double in size.

Now you can eat them. If for some reason, you don't eat all of them instantly, (they are good!) they can be re-heated in the microwave for 30 seconds and they are as good as new.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner. Since it was just the two of us, we skipped the turkey, and went with some chicken. But we did do up all the trimmings.


Noon: Basic Cornbread Dressing from "Cookin' Southern, Vegetarian Style"
Two O'Clock: Mashed Potatoes with Chives
Four O'Clock: Sesame Green Beans and Shallots from "The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook."
Six O'Clock: Cranberry Relish from "The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook."
Nine O'Clock: Chicken and Sage Gravy, from my Dad's recipe. Cook half a diced onion and about six diced sage leaves in a Tablespoon or so of olive oil until translucent. Drop in two boneless chicken breasts, which have been floured in some lightly seasoned flour. Increase heat, brown on both sides, and browning the onions at the same time. Sprinkle some more flour in the pan until it soaks up any remaining oil. When the flour browns, gently pour in about a cup of water to make a gravy. Lower the heat, cover, and cook at low heat for a half an hour.

We served this with a nice chilled Gewurztraminer.

Finish off with the No Fault Pumpkin Pie from "The Moosewood Cookbook," (topped with Soy whipped cream,) we used half sweet potato and half pumpkin, cause all pumpkin tastes a little vegetable-ey.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What's Pho Dinner?

Pho, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

Why it's Faux Pho of course. This Pho comes from the Meat and Potatoes Cookbook and is a relatively simple broth with spices and miso, rice noodles, seitan browned with hoisin sauce, and fresh veggie toppings.

This was actually really good the next day as well. Apparently rice noodles do not get soggy.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

This shepherd's pie looks messy, but it is really good. It is from my new favorite cookbook: The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook. I have been eyeing this book for a while and one day while browsing Borders with a 30% off coupon in my purse, I decided to get it (by the way, those 30% off coupons are dangerous--they may cause habitual book buying). We have been on a cooking spree out of this cookbook. We have already made lentil soup with potatoes and chard, kale and cannellini bean stew, creamy broccoli and pasta bake (very tasty--I ate it for 3 days), and seitan cheese steaks (which were actually very much like a classic Philly cheese steak--or at least the vegetarian versions I tasted in Philly and it was very simple to make). I have been lazy and did not take any pictures of those--although I should have taken a picture of the cheese steaks because they looked pretty with a bunch of rughetta piled on top (the rughetta season is over, so we will have to wait until next year to get some more of that at the farmer's market).

The shepherd's pie is made with chopped up Amy's california veggie burgers, onions, carrots, frozen peas, frozen corn, a bunch of "gravy" that consists of broth, soy sauce, fresh thyme, and cornstarch (no oil), and mashed potatoes on top. This really got good after baking because all of the flavor's melded together very well.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pomegranate Tofu

Pomegranate Tofu, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

This is the pomegranate tofu and coconut rice from Vegan with a Vengeance with some chard cooked with garlic on the side.

Tomato Sandwich

Tomato Sandwich, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

Another use for rughetta! This sandwich is essentially a grilled cheese sandwich with mustard which is pulled apart after grilling and tomatoes, onion and rughetta is added.

Rughetta Pizza

Rughetta Pizza, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

Yes, another pizza. This one uses store bought pizza dough, store bought pizza sauce, rughetta, mushrooms dressed with lemon juice, and fontal cheese.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Rughetta with Farfale

Pasta, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add 1/2 to 3/4 lb of farfale (bow-tie pasta) to cook (Around 11 minutes.)
In a heavy skillet, over medium heat, heat up a tablespoon of olive oil until it shimmers, add a pinch of red pepper, and two cloves of thinly sliced garlic, until the garlic turns golden, then add 9 or 10 "Early Girl" tomatoes, quartered, along with some salt, a few basil leaves and about a tablespoon or so of red wine. Early Girl tomatoes are small, about half the size of Romas. They were the closest thing at the market to the italian variety of tomato called "Vesuvio." Cook the tomatoes for five minutes or so, till they begin to break up and form a sauce. Bring the heat down to low, season to taste.

When the pasta is finished, drain it, (do not rinse,) and add it back to the pot with about 2 cups or so of the loosely packed rughetta, and the zest of a tangerine or orange. Toss well, then add the tomatoes and toss until coated.

Serve immediately.

Apple Muffins

Apple Muffins, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

Apple Pie Crumb Cake Muffins from Vegan with a Vengeance. A little sweet because of the fuji apples we used, but very tasty. They would probably be more balanced in flavor with a more sour apple.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Rughetta, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

Today at the farmers market we found true rughetta! It is a wild arugula that prior to today we had only tasted in Italy. It is also known as wild rocket. It is more peppery than regular arugula and is much more tender. As far as I am concerned it is far superior to regular arugula in every way. This rughetta will be used to make pasta and a pizza. And then we will have to see if they have it again next week at the farmer's market. Personally I think that we should have a truckload of this stuff delivered to our apartment weekly. When I was in Rome I had everything "con rughetta." In fact I became somewhat of a joke to the local restauranteurs in my quest to eat rughetta on everything.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Grapes, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

This didn't actually require any cooking, but it was so pretty I thought that I would put the picture up anyway. The grapes were very good--the best of the season.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tequila Lime Shrimp Burrito

(Makes 4 burritos.)

This is an oldie but a goodie. We made this when we lived in Seattle in 1996. We don't often do fish, but when we do we like to do it up real good.

First off, we won't cover all of the fixings, we will assume that you can handle the refried beans, rice, and torillas. (if not, we will cover them someday, I'm certain, so keep checking.) A quick aside about the rice. We make about a cup of rice. We sub out about a quarter cup of the water used to cook the rice for lime juice.

First, since we will be working with fish, we make the items that require veggies and prep first. So do all your veggie prep, make your rice, open your can of refried beans (Rosarita vegetarian brand is good, if you can get it,) and make your guacamole.

Step one for the guacamole. This guacamole was taught to me by a friend from Guatamala. Keep it simple. Avocado, salt, and lime. Mash. Eat. Of course, I messed with that, and I add some freshly chopped herbs. Gather up two scallions, some basil leaves, an avocado, some cilantro.

Step two: Chop up all that stuff.

Step three, mash the avocado with a fork, add some lime juice and some salt, and all those diced herbs.

Now we can dirty our hands with the shrimp. You need about a quarter pound of 25 to 30 count shrimp in their shells. Split their arched backs with the shell still on, and clean out the "tamale" with the point of your knife and running water.

The split shell makes them very easy to peel. Just hold by the tail, push them out of the shell, and give a little twist.

Once they are all done, get the things ready to cook those shrimp: About a tablespoon of olive oil, a healthy pinch (about 1/2 teaspoon) of cumin and chili powder, one quarter of a large sweet onion, 2 cloves of diced garlic, a diced jalepeno, (ribs and seeds removed, or not, if you want it to be hot,) 1/2 shot of lime juice, 1 shot of top shelf tequila, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the oil in a skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat till it shimmers.

Add the cumin and chili powder, and cook till it sizzles.

Add the onion, garlic, and jalepeno and cook till the onions begin to brown.

Add the tequila, lime juice, salt, pepper and shrimp.

Cook till the liquid evaporates and the shrimp are cooked through.

Assemble. Opinions vary, but we prefer rice, beans, shrimp, guacamole and a nice tasty salsa.

Friday, October 5, 2007


Tamales, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

This was our first time making tamales--and it was definitely a joint effort. The recipe is from the Modern Vegetarian cookbook. The filling is a mixture of seitan, peppers, and spices. The "dough" was actually very simple and contained some olive oil, hot water, salt, and a lot of masa harina. The tough part was forming the tamales--which became easier as we did more of them. The side is the recommended accompaniment in the cookbook--a mixture of pinto beans, onions, roasted tomatoes, and spices. We modified the side recipe a little and used canned beans instead of starting with dry beans and added beer when cooking (because beer +beens always = yum).


Samosas, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

These potato and pea samosas are from the vegan with a vengance cookbook. We did cheat however and add yogurt, so they are not really vegan. These were tasty, but not the best samosas we have made. I think that the moosewood cookbook has a better recipe.

I never did get a picture of the inside of the samosas--mostly because I didn't think that they would come out very well.

Pineapple Cupcake

Pineapple Cupcake, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

This is a bad picture of a really good pineapple cupcake. This was the only one left when I remembered to take a picture. The recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World--if you haven't already, I recommend buying this cookbook.

The cupcake ended up tasting more like a muffin because of all the spices in it--mostly cinnamon and allspice. The topping is just pineapple with a little bit of sugar and a thickener (in this case arrowroot). The topping was a bit sticky, but very tasty. To top it off are three raspberries.