Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I'm making our newly traditional Shepherd's Pie for Thanksgiving this year. We decided last year that it was a keeper. It's got all the comforting components of a our childhood turkey dinners, and it's wonderful with a side of fresh homemade cranberries. To be honest, if it was just for me, and I'm glad it isn't, I'd be happy with mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, and lots and lots of cranberries. To me they're a side dish, not a condiment.

Cooking fresh cranberries is fast, easy, versatile, and infinitely better tasting than the canned kind. I make mine with orange zest and juice. Sometimes I add a little got pepper. And I have a friend who made hers this year with chipotle and ginger. I use half as much sugar as the recipe on the bag calls for, and if you want to reduce it even more, try cooking your cranberries in apple juice. I make a big batch and freeze some for those months when fresh cranberries can't be found.


2 bags fresh cranberries (You can find organic, but Oceanspray is the most common brand in most places)
1 cup organic sugar
zest and juice of 1 orange, plus more juice to fill to 1 cup
1 cup water

Rinse the cranberries and pick out any ugly ones.
Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.
The berries will first pop open, then soften and turn bright red. After a few minutes they begin to thicken. At that point you can let them cool. They'll continue to thicken in the refrigerator.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Little Friendly Activism

I'm not really the activist type, unless you consider cooking and sharing good vegan food activism. I actually feel that my specialty is "kitchen activism," but the other day I was asked to participate in a "tabling" with our local Vegan Meetup group.

There aren't many of us, but our fearless leader, Carrie, is an amazing little ball of energy, all directed at being a voice for animals. I agreed to help out for an hour or two in the morning, and ended up being there most of the day. It was freezing cold outside, and a storm blew in later in the afternoon, but that didn't stop us.

Several of us brought food samples to share passersby, and we all took our stations at the long table filled with pamphlets, snacks, and petitions. I was amazed at how many people stopped to chat, ask questions, and see what we were up to. They were (mostly) friendly, curious, open, and delighted to try our food. We offered little Tofurky sandwiches, cashew cheese on crackers, and pumpkin bars, also made with cashews. (Recipes below.)

Here I am, chatting with Bret, who just happens to be a butcher at Cid's. It could have been awkward, but he made a point of telling my friends that he's been to dinner at my house, and loved the food. Maybe he'll switch over to being a produce guy some day. Doors are open and seeds are planted. You never know!

Everything was a hit, and many people were surprised at how good it all was. I was happy I'd thought to print out the recipes to hand out. A lot of folks took them, and I happily imagine there will be some surprise vegan dishes on lots of Thanksgiving tables in Taos this year. Many thanks to Cid's Market for letting us hang out there all day, and to all the Taos Vegans who cooked and helped out. It was a great day.

The Recipes:

Tofurky Sandwiches
Rudi's Spelt Ancient Grains bread
Hickory Smoked Tofurky
Daiya Jack Cheese
Grapeseed Oil Veganise Better than Mayo

Pumpkin Bars
1 1/3 c soaked cashews
1/2 c maple syrup
1 can (or equivalent) cooked pumpkin (or winter squash)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp EACH allspice, nutmeg, and clove
for pie: bake at 400 for 15 min, then at 350 for 30-40 min
*this also make a delicious pudding: after blending, put in fridge until ready to eat

Cashew Cheese Spread
1 cup raw cashews, soaked 1 hour or more
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 T Herbes de Provence (or dry basil)
2 tsp miso
1 T tamari
1 T dijon mustard
1 T apple cider vinegar
water or almond milk (or any plant milk)
Drain the soaked cashews, and place them in your food processor. Add all other ingredients, except the almond milk. Blend everything well, adding the milk a little at a time, and scraping the sides of the bowl every so often, until you have a nice smooth consistency.

And don't forget to enter to win a free copy of One-Dish Vegan!

Monday, November 18, 2013

One-Dish Vegan and a Book Giveaway!

When I was recently asked to review the new book, One-Dish Vegan: More than 150 Soul-Satisfying Recipes for Easy and Delicious One-Bowl and One-Plate Dinners, I jumped right out of my chair and said, Yes please!!! One dish is my kind of cooking, and perusing this book, it's almost like it was written for me. So many recipes I'm eager to try, like Caribbean Greens and Beans Soup, Antipasto Potato Salad, Indian-Spiced Risotto, Tequila Sundown Chili, Tunisian Chickpeas with Sweet Potatoes and Greens, Fettuccine with Creamy Cannellini Tomato Sauce, Chickpea Pot Pie... and on and on. These are all savory recipes, intended to be made for dinner. Make too much though, because leftovers are oh so good for lunch.

I've tried two recipes, and have permission to share them with you. All thumbs are up here, so try these for yourself, and then order One-Dish Vegan for your very own. It's a keeper! I like it so much I plan to buy it on Kindle too, so I can easily take it with me when I travel.

The first recipe I tried was Chipotle-Citrus Tofu and Broccoli. It's a simple recipe that lends itself well to variation. And the sauce is... pure genius. I wish I'd come up with this one myself, but no matter. I'll be making it often!

If you aren't familiar with chipotle chiles in adobo, don't panic! I found them in the Hispanic food section of our regular old market. 

Chipotle-Citrus Tofu And Broccoli
Recipe © 2013 by Robin Robertson and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press

Gluten-free | Serves 4

The combination of heat from the chipotles and citrus from the orange and lemon juices makes a flavorful sauce that packs a punch for the broccoli and tofu. This can be enjoyed alone or served over rice or quinoa; and, of course, you may substitute another vegetable for the broccoli (cauliflower or asparagus are good choices) or use seitan, tempeh, or cooked beans in place of the tofu.

  • 3 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu, well drained, blotted dry, and cut into 1/2inch dice
  • 3 scallions, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, pureed or finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon natural sugar
  • 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Heat about an inch of water in a skillet and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until just tender. Drain and set aside in a bowl.

2. Wipe out the skillet and add the oil. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the scallions and garlic, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook 1 minute longer, then transfer the tofu mixture to the bowl with the broccoli.

3. In the same skillet, bring the orange juice to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the chipotle chiles, tomato paste, mustard, sugar, and water, and cook until slightly syrupy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture for about 1 minute to thicken. Add the lemon juice. Return the reserved tofu mixture and broccoli to the pan and cook until heated through and glazed with sauce, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

We also tried the Cuban Black Beans and Rice. Loved it! We served it with quinoa instead of rice. Use what you have! I made this late one evening when friends were over, and forgot to take pictures. Very sorry! There was wine involved. Do enjoy the recipe though!

Cuban Black Beans and Rice
Recipe © 2013 by Robin Robertson and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press

Gluten-free | Soy-free | Serves 4

The Spanish name for this classic Cuban dish is moros y cristianos, or “Moors and Christians.” Since the beans are traditionally served on top of the rice, the rice must be cooked separately. White rice is classic, but brown rice is more nutritious.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water
  • 1 medium-size onion, minced
  • 1/2 medium-size green bell pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 medium-size zucchini, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño chile (optional), seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cups cooked black beans or 2 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Hot cooked rice, for serving

Heat the oil or water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, zucchini, garlic, and jalapeño (if using). Cover, and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, and oregano, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes with their juices, beans, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Serve over the hot cooked rice.

Want to WIN a copy of One-Dish Vegan for your very own? Leave a comment on this post and I'll choose a winner in a random drawing on December 2nd! The publisher will ship the book to the winner, so either add your email address to your comment, send it directly to me, or be sure to check back to see if you've won. As they say in the real world, you must be present to win! If I can't find the first winner in 48 hours, I'll choose a new one. Good luck!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Flourless Grainless Chocolate-Chocolate Cherry Cookies

I've been playing with grain free recipes lately, which oddly enough leads me to a lot of Paleo websites. Except for the Paleo insistence that meat has some magical ingredient that's good for you, we actually have a lot in common. We all love chocolate! Yay! The following recipe originates over at Against All Grain. I've made some changes and simplified things a bit so the food processor does most of the work, but do check out the original recipe. It's really quite wonderful.

I use soaked, ground almonds here, instead of almond flour, which I hear is quite expensive. Besides, nobody in Taos carries it, so I had to come up with something else. I was able to find coconut flour, but if you can't, I think it would work to buzz up some coconut flakes in your food processor and use that.

One other thing to note is that size matters with these cookies. They hold together much better if you keep them on the small side. Take two! They're small!

Chocolate-Chocolate Cherry Cookies
makes about 40

2 cups raw almonds, soaked at least 2 hours, but best overnight
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
2 T coconut flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 T vanilla
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup agave syrup (or maple, rice or coconut syrup)

Coarsely chop the walnuts, cherries, and chocolate chips, either in the food processor or with a knife. Set them aside in a large mixing bowl.

Soaking the almonds starts the germination process, making them more digestible and sweeter tasting. Soak them overnight if possible, then measure out 2 cups for the recipe. Munch what's left as a snack, or store them in the fridge.

Drain and rinse the almonds, and blot them dry in a towel. Place the almonds in the food processor and pulse to puree as thoroughly as possible. You'll have a coarse, crunchy paste. Add all remaining ingredients (except walnuts, cherries, and chocolate chips) to the food processor and blend well. Transfer the dough to the mixing bowl and stir in the chopped walnuts, cherries, and chocolate chips.

Preheat the oven to 350º. Oil or line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.
Make small tablespoon size balls and gently flatten them on the cookie sheet with your fingers. The cookies won't grow when baked, so you can place them close together.
Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes. Don't over-bake them. They'll be soft when hot, so allow them to cool a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cabbage Steaks

I ran across this recipe on Facebook, and tracked it down to someone I can actually link back to. This is a very simple dish to make, and we like it so much, we've had it twice in three days. It's served here with garlic-broccoli mashed potatoes and my own favorite recipe for cheese sauce. Get the Cabbage Steak details straight from the source. (Actually, I think she got it from Martha Stewart, but Martha gets enough hits on her own.) If you don't want to go to the trouble of rubbing your cabbage with garlic, a sprinkle of garlic powder will do. We like our Cabbage Steaks with a little Dijon mustard on the side.

To make the Garlic-Broccoli Mashed Potatoes, boil cut potatoes along with sliced garlic until almost done. Throw in chopped broccoli and continue cooking. when the potatoes are tender, drain and mash it all up together with veg-butter, salt, and pepper.

And, My New Favorite Cheese Sauce goes like so:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 20 minutes
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp miso
1 T tamari, or to taste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water (or non-dairy milk)

Rinse the soaked cashews, and place them in a blender or food processor with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a sauce pan, and warm over med-low heat, adding more water if necessary.