Sunday, November 20, 2011


If you are a celiac vegan or vegetarian, you know how difficult it can be to find meat-ish proteins. When I was simply a vegetarian (and not gluten-free) I was fairly dependent on wheat gluten products, especially for their meat-like texture. Imagine how delighted I was to find Primal Strips,, vegan, gluten-free jerky (in several flavors, NOT ALL GLUTEN FREE--very confusing--READ THE LABELS!) near the cash register at my local Whole Foods--seemed like old (pre-celiac) times! Note: these are (non-GMO) soy-based, so if you're not a fan of soy products, these are not for you.

Once I tasted (and loved) this chewy barbeque strip, I thought I'd cook it up in a million different ways, but it was gone too fast. I'm still planning to mince this strip and scramble it with eggs or tofu. Check out my attempt at a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato, using the hickory-flavored Primal Strip.

Bought online, especially in boxes of 24, these cost a fraction of what you would pay at Whole Foods. Although the company's site emphasizes the convenience of this food for hikers and skiiers, etc, as an urban New Yorker, I see great value in them as a protein supplement to a vegetable-based meal at a conventional restaurant where there might not be much available for a vegan (sort of a protein-based dessert). Great to have in purse or pocket for walks through the city, too!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I made another trip to Manhattan's Chinatown yesterday. My favorite place to start an afternoon's shopping is the stand on the SW corner of Grand and Chrystie Streets. The people at that stand are helpful and volunteer explanations of and uses for various greens identified only by signs with Chinese characters. Prices are somewhere between excellent and unbelievable, at least compared to uptown chain supermarkets.

A few doors further west of Chrystie is another stand with many greens that I like. Skipping the numerous fresh fish and dried fish purveyors, you will find a large fruit stand on the NW corner of Grand Street and the Bowery.

Further along Grand, continue to Mott Street and make a left there, staying on the west side of the street as you head in a downtown direction. You will come to two fruit and vegetable stands with a variety of fruit displays in sidewalk bins, but the bulk of the stock is inside those shops, so don't miss the opportunity to buy fresh ginger at $1 per pound, red bell peppers for $1.29 per pound and Chinese eggplants, oyster mushrooms, spinach, Chinese cabbage, daikon radish and cilantro at equally inexpensive prices.

If you are not familiar with a certain vegetable, I've found that asking is almost always worth it, and very often met with enthusiasm and cooking tips, too! I learn something every time I head down to Chinatown, and the trip is always good for my grocery budget.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


This is such a rich pasta sauce, and one that I use in so many recipes beyond just pasta, that I thought it deserved another appearance here for those who might have missed it the first time around. The great thing about this sauce, especially for gluten-free vegans or vegetarians, is that it is very hearty in flavor and high in protein, too. The only way I can imagine you'd be disappointed with this recipe is if you find it didn't deliver enough sauce for all the uses you've devised for it. Come to think of it, why not double it now and freeze half for later?

1/2 c TVP
1c boiling vegetable bouillon
3T olive oil
2 large onions
10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced thick
4 large garlic cloves
1T oregano
1T dried basil
1/2 c chopped Italian (flat) parsley
1/2 c chopped black olives
3 28oz cans crushed tomatoes

Mix TVP and broth. Let sit until liquid is absorbed.
In large soup pot add oil, TVP and all but tomatoes.
When onions are translucent, add tomatoes.
Cook on medium 30 mins or low 2 hours (preferred), stirring every 15 mins.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Here's my contribution to the Gluten-Free Vegetarian Thanksgiving Event hosted by Book of Yum. I'm really excited to be participating along with so many other folks who eat both gluten-free and vegetarian (yes, we are numerous and satisfied diners!).
This simple, healthy dessert is one of my family's favorites. You can fancy up these baked apples with a scoop of vanilla ice cream garnished with chopped walnuts, but I think they're scrumptious as they are, in all their cran-orange wonderfulness! They're good at any temperature, too, which makes things easy on the busy holiday cook. Serve right from the oven, baked the day before and then chilled, or at room temperature, perhaps with a tiny sliver of pumpkin pie if you're feeling really self-indulgent!

Use this recipe as a jumping-off point, and don't be afraid to use whatever you have in the pantry instead of what is written here. No walnuts? Try pecans. Someone isn't a a fan of raisins in your family? Try a mix of diced dried apricots and figs. Or you might want to replace some of the water with pineapple juice. And as far as spices--what about some ginger? Powdered, julienned fresh, or candied--up to you!

Or just follow the easy steps below for a tried and true dessert that I hope will become a beloved tradition in your family, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

Heat oven to 350 degrees


4 large Rome or Cortland apples (about 2lbs total)
1 cup cranberries
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cardamom
2 cups water


Bring to a boil and then simmer on medium flame cranberries and raisins in covered saucepan until cranberries pop open. Remove from flame and stir in spices and juice concentrate. Core apples and peel the tops. Place in a tightly fitting baking dish. Pour juice and fruit mixture over all, packing fruit into cores. Bake until soft, basting frequently with juice.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


When I was younger I spent about two years living in Rome. Whenever I miss those old days, I come here. I close my eyes and taste the gelato (nocciola/hazelnut, especially) and I'm 23 and wandering through that ancient city with my second or third gelato of the day. (And that was when I restrained myself--it sometimes went to four a day in summertime!)
A friend introduced me to this little gelateria off 7th Avenue in NYC's Greenwich Village after dinner at Keste, just around the corner on Bleecker Street. The next time I visited L'Arte del Gelato was after lunch at Slice on Hudson Street, also in the Village, but west of 7th.

Given that I spent a mere two years in Italy, it is hard for me to believe how practically unpatriotic I feel when faced with all the American-style flavors you can now find at ice cream shops across the country. Things like added cookie crumbs or cookie dough or other (to me) oddities just don't tempt my taste buds. But put me in front of a display like LDG's and I'm fighting the urge to order something like a glutton's sampler. Maybe 8 or 10 flavors in one hefty cup. All right, though, if I had to recommend, I'd say the hazelnut and coconut were my recent favorites. But that was just that time, who knows?

75 Seventh Avenue South
New York, N.Y. – 10014
Tel. 212-924-0803

Sunday-Thursday 11am - 12pm
Friday-Saturday 11am - 1 am

Here is info on other branches at Chelsea Market and Lincoln Center Plaza

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Here's a link to a post about the preparation of a vegan soy sausage called Soy Longaniza. Trader Joe's carries a similar product called Soyrizo. Both are great for stuffed peppers or any recipe where you'd use hot ground sausage.

For stuffed peppers, mash some beans and crushed tomatoes with the ground "sausage" after you've blanched the peppers. The sausage is VERY spicy so no extra ingredients are needed, in my opinion.

In fact, this is one of those non-recipes where the balance of flavors is totally up to you. Taste as you go and start with a couple of cups of mashed beans, slowly adding the browned "sausage" bits until your preferred heat level is reached. I've used cheddar here, but monterey jack, muenster, or any cheese you prefer would work, including Daiya cheddar (my favorite vegan cheese), which would make this a fine dish for any vegan you know. The peppers I've used are orange sweet ones, but use poblanos for some extra kick.

Fill the blanched peppers with the mixture and top with cheese. Bake at 400 degrees until the cheese is thoroughly melted and just starts to brown.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I encountered Thai eggplants for the first time on a recent shopping trip to NYC's Chinatown. Internally, they have the seeds that make them recognizable as eggplant, but externally, these small green globes, with a slightly marbleized patterning, seem to have almost nothing in common with the traditional dark purple strain we commonly see in supermarkets. Although the taste is nothing other than eggplant-y, the shape is so inspiring, this will not be the last recipe I publish with them!


2 generous servings

2 thai eggplants, about 2-3" diameter, halved and cut in thin slices
2 scallions, chopped (white and green)
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2T julienned fresh ginger
1 cup sliced red and yellow peppers
1 cup snow peas
4 oz firm tofu, drained, pressed, drained again
1 T canola oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 T tamari sauce

One hour in advance, prepare the marinated tofu pieces.


Drain tofu
Wrap tofu in clean dish towel
Place wrapped tofu on plate, weighted with several pounds of canned food or heavy pots, for about one hour.
Unwrap tofu and pat dry.
Cut into small pieces about 3/8 inch x 3/4 inch.
Place pieces in shallow bowl in one layer.


Whisk together tamari and sesame oil.
Pour marinade over tofu pieces.
After 10 minutes, turn pieces.
Let tofu marinate for another 10 minutes.


On medium high heat, saute onions, ginger and peppers in canola oil until softened.
Add garlic and eggplant. Stir well.
Raise heat to high. Add tofu and stir well.
Add marinade and snow peas, stirring until snow peas turn bright green and are thoroughly steamed.

Serve over brown rice, with additional tamari sauce if desired.


I grew up hating escarole. Perhaps the only green I hated more was chicory. Mom never served them cooked, always in salads, probably to liven up the ubiquitous midcentury staple: tasteless iceberg lettuce. Still, the bitterness was too much for a grade schooler's palate and I stubbornly refused to touch the stuff. Then, I spent the last year of art school in Italy. And discovered "greens and beans" or 'scarole e fagiol'. The escarole was not just bearable, but delicious. Thank you, Italy! This soup is a tribute to that taste turnaround, and to a more recent one. (I've always said I hated kale, but with recent juicing of it and the making of this soup, I guess I have to call a truce with that green as well.)

Greens and Beans

3 T olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup roughly chopped fresh Italian (flat) parsley
2T dried oregano
2T dried basil
1 large onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Saute green pepper and onion in oil with spices and herbs until soft.

12 cups coarsely shredded mixed greens (I used one head of escarole, some fresh spinach and some kale, but you could use chicory, swiss chard or any other greens you have around.) Note: if using spinach, add it at the end with the tomatoes and broth.

Add greens to pot and stir to coat with oil and herbs.

1 cup steamed edamame
1 cup cooked navy beans or other white bean
1 cup cooked chickpeas

Add beans to greens and mix well.

2 cups vegan gluten free chikn broth (I used Edward & Sons brand)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

Add boiling broth, crushed tomatoes and extra water (if needed) to just cover all.

Cook until greens are tender. Sprinkle with soy bacon bits if desired.

Approximately 8 generous servings, depending on appetite.