ladydinner in manoa

in honor of a special lady visit and in accordance with my weekly horoscope to “invite my rambunctious friends and have a house blessing ceremony,” last night my little garden home was host to a gaggle of ladies feasting on veggie goodness.

the meal was a mixed up crew of tastes with a focus on hearty, cool-weather foods.  none of the recipes are particularly amazing as a stand-alone, but all together made for a rather impressive spread.  on the menu was polenta and brown rice with herbs and parmesan cheese, wild rice tempeh with mashed sweet potatoes + white potatoes and mushroom gravy, lentil soup with greens, sauteed cauliflower, locally made wheat bread with pink hummus, pesto, and goat cheese brie; and for dessert vegan chocolate cake + vanilla bean frosting along with coconut bliss ice cream and homemade vegan chocolate pudding.  as usual, most of the vegetables (kales, cauliflower, beets) are  from the farm, harvested with my own hands (with the exception of the onions and potatoes- from somewhere in hawaii). 
blessings indeed. thank you ladies, for a lovely evening :)

lentil soup with greens (easy and yummy)
2 cups brown lentils, soaked if you can
4-6 cups water + 1 tbsp (or to taste) ‘better than boullion’
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for drizzle)
1 tbsp black pepper
a mix of herbs + spices (i used some cayenne, fennel, caraway, thyme, nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves)
about 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2-4 cups freshly torn greens

if you have the time/space/energy/memory, soak the lentils for a few hours before cooking them. if not, just toss them in the pan and cook until mostly done, about a half hour; toss in the pepper and herbs + spices near the end of the cooking time. while the lentils are cooking, heat up the oil in your skillet and cook the onions and garlic to a crispy brown, then add to your lentils. simmer until the lentils are soft but not mushy; add more bouillon or salt to taste, and add more herbs + spices if you like (i always adjust as i cook). when the lentils are soft and the broth is flavorful enough, add the lemon juice and greens just prior to serving, and if you like add a bit of olive oil to the top.
this soup keeps well for many days, but the greens begin to look icky because of the lemon juice; if you are keeping the soup for a few days, add greens and lemon only to the amount you can eat in one sitting. then, when you reheat it in a few days add fresh greens and lemon.

pink hummus
this was pretty addition to our dinner! all we did was add a chopped beet to the food processor. i think everyone knows how to make hummus, but if you do not… i forgive you. all measurements are approximate… just taste it as you go along.

2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt, black pepper and cumin to taste
water (sometimes needed to thin it out)
1 small beet, chopped

throw it in your food processor and blend until a creamy texture is created, adding a bit of water and/or oil to make sure it gets creamy. taste as you go, and add more of the ingredients as needed. toss the beet in once you have achieved hummus perfection in the processor.  serve to your ladies.

vegan chocolate cake
this simple vegan cake goes with everything: frosting, chocolate sauce, coconut ice cream, or standing alone as a not-too-sweet treat.

1 cup ap flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup sucanat or sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp seasalt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup ‘milk’ (i like half soy/half coconut milk)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1/3 cup oil (i’ve used both coconut and safflower)

preheat your oven to 350 and grease/line with parchment an 8×8 baking pan.
mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. mix the vinegar with the ‘milk’ and let it sit a minute, then add the rest of the ingredients. combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until smooth. pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, letting it cool completely before taking it from the pan. cooling racks come in handy here, folks…
i like this really simple vanilla bean frosting, with or without the extra spices. it can actually be made without the margarine; it will be a bit saucier though…

ladydinner in manoa

in honor of a special lady visit and in accordance with my weekly horoscope to “invite my rambunctious friends and have a house blessing ceremony,” last night my little garden home was host to a gaggle of ladies feasting on veggie goodness.

the meal was a mixed up crew of tastes with a focus on hearty, cool-weather foods.  none of the recipes are particularly amazing as a stand-alone, but all together made for a rather impressive spread.  on the menu was polenta and brown rice with herbs and parmesan cheese, wild rice tempeh with mashed sweet potatoes + white potatoes and mushroom gravy, lentil soup with greens, sauteed cauliflower, locally made wheat bread with pink hummus, pesto, and goat cheese brie; and for dessert vegan chocolate cake + vanilla bean frosting along with coconut bliss ice cream and homemade vegan chocolate pudding.  as usual, most of the vegetables (kales, cauliflower, beets) are  from the farm, harvested with my own hands (with the exception of the onions and potatoes- from somewhere in hawaii). 
blessings indeed. thank you ladies, for a lovely evening :)

lentil soup with greens (easy and yummy)
2 cups brown lentils, soaked if you can
4-6 cups water + 1 tbsp (or to taste) ‘better than boullion’
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for drizzle)
1 tbsp black pepper
a mix of herbs + spices (i used some cayenne, fennel, caraway, thyme, nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves)
about 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2-4 cups freshly torn greens

if you have the time/space/energy/memory, soak the lentils for a few hours before cooking them. if not, just toss them in the pan and cook until mostly done, about a half hour; toss in the pepper and herbs + spices near the end of the cooking time. while the lentils are cooking, heat up the oil in your skillet and cook the onions and garlic to a crispy brown, then add to your lentils. simmer until the lentils are soft but not mushy; add more bouillon or salt to taste, and add more herbs + spices if you like (i always adjust as i cook). when the lentils are soft and the broth is flavorful enough, add the lemon juice and greens just prior to serving, and if you like add a bit of olive oil to the top.
this soup keeps well for many days, but the greens begin to look icky because of the lemon juice; if you are keeping the soup for a few days, add greens and lemon only to the amount you can eat in one sitting. then, when you reheat it in a few days add fresh greens and lemon.

pink hummus
this was pretty addition to our dinner! all we did was add a chopped beet to the food processor. i think everyone knows how to make hummus, but if you do not… i forgive you. all measurements are approximate… just taste it as you go along.

2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt, black pepper and cumin to taste
water (sometimes needed to thin it out)
1 small beet, chopped

throw it in your food processor and blend until a creamy texture is created, adding a bit of water and/or oil to make sure it gets creamy. taste as you go, and add more of the ingredients as needed. toss the beet in once you have achieved hummus perfection in the processor.  serve to your ladies.

vegan chocolate cake
this simple vegan cake goes with everything: frosting, chocolate sauce, coconut ice cream, or standing alone as a not-too-sweet treat.

1 cup ap flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup sucanat or sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp seasalt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup ‘milk’ (i like half soy/half coconut milk)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1/3 cup oil (i’ve used both coconut and safflower)

preheat your oven to 350 and grease/line with parchment an 8×8 baking pan.
mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. mix the vinegar with the ‘milk’ and let it sit a minute, then add the rest of the ingredients. combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until smooth. pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, letting it cool completely before taking it from the pan. cooling racks come in handy here, folks…
i like this really simple vanilla bean frosting, with or without the extra spices. it can actually be made without the margarine; it will be a bit saucier though…

omnivore’s delight

firstly, let me state that micheal pollan’s book omnivore’s dilemma changed my life when i    read it exactly two years ago. if you have not read it- ask for it for xmas or hanukkah… or just because.  this post has nothing to do with the book, other than stealing the title… But it is about yummy food for omnivores.

i am usually happy with simple rice + veggies + beans or tempeh for dinner (in a few different variations that suit this single gal just fine).  but sometimes i want to impress my omnivorous friends with some hearty vegan goodness.  and now that it is winter (well, y’know… hawaii winter) i want to make cozy foods, and this dinner is one of the coziest i can imagine: grilled smokey herbed seitan and mashed sweet + red potatoes with mushroom gravy, plus some simple farm greens and roasted carrots on the side.

mushroom gravy (from vegan fusion world  cuisine by the blossoming lotus. this recipe is actually called avalon’s magic mushroom gravy– and ALL the names for their recipes are goofy like that).

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (i used mostly shallots and just a bit of onion)
¾ cup shitake mushrooms (sliced very thin) (see note: i used
½ cup more mushrooms- 6 medium-sized)
1½ tbsp minced fresh garlic
2 cups water
¼ cup soy sauce
pinch of each nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne pepper


roux*
2 tbsp spelt flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water

Create a roux by placing spelt flour in a small bowl. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp water and whisk into a thick paste; set aside.

Place 1 tbsp of olive oil and a large pan on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients except the roux and cook for 5 more minutes on low heat; finally, add the roux and cook until gravy has a thick consistency, approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

*a note: though i followed the recipe perfectly, the gravy did not have a thick consistency and the flavor was not what i remembered it to be.  i did two things to remedy this issue.  firstly, i mixed up some organic cornstarch (about 2 tbsp with 1 tbsp water) and added to the bowl of gravy, then i chopped up a few extra mushrooms, sauteed them in a bit of olive oil until wilted.  i added the gravy with cornstarch to the hot pan and let it simmer for about five more minutes.  i then blended everything in the food processor the make it even creamier (and i really don’t like mushroom chunks).  then it was JUST PERFECT!



ladydinner with a boy

I wanted to have a ladydinner to thank my friend for hosting me for thanks & giving. But plans got messed up, people didn’t really get invited, I did not really plan enough for a true ladydinner, and it turns out it was our friend’s birthday anyway. So the planned ladydinner became an impromptu ladydinner, followed by downtown celebration drinking.  This ladydinner was attended by three lovely friends: one lady and one couple.   It’s okay, boys can sometimes come to ladydinners too.

I cooked up some corn & potato chowder, sweet & salty tempeh, freshly harvested farm greens (tat soi, won bok, kales, beet greens, arugula too), and quinoa with leeks.  There was some brown rice too.  The tempeh is not a recipe, just browned in a hot pan then covered with a quick sauce of olive oil, tamari and honey, along with some kecap manis, a very sweet thick indonesian soy sauce.  The greens were just tossed in the hot pan after the tempeh just enough to wilt them down, but getting just a bit of the salty-sweet sauce.  My new favorite vegetable from the farm is leeks, and so far I like to caramelize them into sweet crunchy bits, and add to rice or quinoa.  The soup is an old recipe from a teenage vegetarian pamphlet; I’ve been making this recipe for years and i really love the simplicity and coziness of it.

corn & potato chowder (adapted from somewhere… )


1-3 tsp oil
1½ cups onion (or mixed shallots, leek, and/or onions; maybe garlic too)
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
2 cups cubed red potatoes
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup soymilk (or other nondairy liquid)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
at least 1 tbsp mixed herbs (I like caraway, thyme, and basil)
some spices: a bit cayenne and black pepper; some salt if you need

In a large pot heat up the oil, and when it is hot add the onion (or onion mixture) and saute until most of the onions are browned.  Add the carrot, potatoes and stock and then cover the pot, bring to a boil, and lower heat to medium until potatoes are cooked (about 15 minutes).  Add the soymilk and the corn and cook for a few more minutes.  Scoop out 1 cup of the soup and blend in the food processor; you can adjust this amount depending on how creamy you want your soup.  This makes about four servings… depending on how hungry you are!

ladydinner with a boy

I wanted to have a ladydinner to thank my friend for hosting me for thanks & giving. But plans got messed up, people didn’t really get invited, I did not really plan enough for a true ladydinner, and it turns out it was our friend’s birthday anyway. So the planned ladydinner became an impromptu ladydinner, followed by downtown celebration drinking.  This ladydinner was attended by three lovely friends: one lady and one couple.   It’s okay, boys can sometimes come to ladydinners too.

I cooked up some corn & potato chowder, sweet & salty tempeh, freshly harvested farm greens (tat soi, won bok, kales, beet greens, arugula too), and quinoa with leeks.  There was some brown rice too.  The tempeh is not a recipe, just browned in a hot pan then covered with a quick sauce of olive oil, tamari and honey, along with some kecap manis, a very sweet thick indonesian soy sauce.  The greens were just tossed in the hot pan after the tempeh just enough to wilt them down, but getting just a bit of the salty-sweet sauce.  My new favorite vegetable from the farm is leeks, and so far I like to caramelize them into sweet crunchy bits, and add to rice or quinoa.  The soup is an old recipe from a teenage vegetarian pamphlet; I’ve been making this recipe for years and i really love the simplicity and coziness of it.

corn & potato chowder (adapted from somewhere… )


1-3 tsp oil
1½ cups onion (or mixed shallots, leek, and/or onions; maybe garlic too)
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
2 cups cubed red potatoes
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup soymilk (or other nondairy liquid)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
at least 1 tbsp mixed herbs (I like caraway, thyme, and basil)
some spices: a bit cayenne and black pepper; some salt if you need

In a large pot heat up the oil, and when it is hot add the onion (or onion mixture) and saute until most of the onions are browned.  Add the carrot, potatoes and stock and then cover the pot, bring to a boil, and lower heat to medium until potatoes are cooked (about 15 minutes).  Add the soymilk and the corn and cook for a few more minutes.  Scoop out 1 cup of the soup and blend in the food processor; you can adjust this amount depending on how creamy you want your soup.  This makes about four servings… depending on how hungry you are!