Saturday, February 27, 2010

Eating In Week Day 6: Peanut Butter Pie

We've done a good job of eating in this week and so for Saturday night, we are going to have dinner at some friends' house.  We're bringing my favorite dish: Dessert!  Okay, I wish that I had the most wonderful rich and fluffy photos of this pie, but more often than not, the worse it looks, the better it tastes.  So, this looks like a mess, but it is tasty, indulgent and so rich!

I mashed together about 3 recipes to come up with a taste and texture that I liked.  Sources include The Kind Diet, Marantha Nut Butters, and Compassion Over Killing.

Pie Crust
You can use a premade pie crust (graham cracker or chocolate) or make you own:

Crush 20 graham crackers (or 2 cups chocolate cookies).  Blend with:
3 tablespoons safflower oil, margarine or butter (I used Earth Balance)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)

Press into a pie pan.

Pie Filling
Blend together until creamy and silky:
12 to 16 ounces of firm tofu
1 1 /2 cups peanut butter (or to your taste)
1/4 cup maple syrup (add more or less depending on your sweet tooth)

Refrigerate 2 hours.  You can top with whipped cream, nuts or a chocolate coating.

Chocolate Coating
Melt 12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  You can add vanilla extract, vanilla soy milk or maple syrup to taste and desired consistency.  Spread over top of pie.  Allow to refrigerate another hour.

Indulge and Enjoy!

Friday, February 26, 2010

My 15 Minutes

You've probably read about The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone many times on this blog.  Well, Alicia Silverstone also has a blog called The Kind Life.  The other day, I sent in the recipe for Gnocchi with Spicy Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce and Alicia kindly posted the recipe on her blog!!  Check out her blog and my 15 minutes HERE!

Eating In Week Day 5: Tempting Tempeh Tacos

Well, Eating In Week is going well and we have stuck to it!  The only challenges have been all the dishes and leftovers.  The more we cook, the more we have of both.  We were both a little tired today, so we grilled up some tempeh with Patak's Sweet and Smoky Marinade, chopped it up and served it in tortillas with black beans and onions.  It was an interesting Indian-Mexican fusion.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Eating In Week Day 4: Spring Rolls

It's Day 4 of Eating In Week and I had a lunch date with Emily at my house.  I've been craving Asian food, so I made spring rolls for the first time!  To prep for it, I made some baked tofu.  You can purchase spring roll wrappers (rice paper) at Asian grocery stores, in the Asian food section or at Whole Foods.  Then you slice up some vegetables, make some rice, wet the rice paper (5 minutes in warm water), roll up the veggies, tofu and rice and serve with soy sauce or Asian peanut dip.  

We stuffed our rolls with baked tofu, cucumber, red pepper, cilantro, green onion, rice, carrots, and purple cabbage.

The whole experience was fun, interesting and a nice way to spend some time with my friend.

Silky Asian Peanut Dip

 Yummy!  I found this recipe at and decided that it would be a great spread and dip.  You can put it on bread, toast, apple or carrot slices, dip spring rolls or chips.

Blend in a food processor or with beaters:

8 oz silken tofu
1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky or creamy, depending on your palate)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 (or more) teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 cloves minced garlic

Boy Oh Boy! Baked Tofu Slices

Well, I have never been much of a tofu eater or cooker, but Eating In Week is inspiring me to try new things.  These slices are nice to have on hand for munching, making sandwiches, stuffing in pita or tortillas or making spring rolls.

Start with 16 oz firm tofu.  Drain excessive packing water off.  Place on a plate, put another plate on top and heavy weighted item on top of the plate to press off excess water.  Since my father loves to give me decorative paperweights, I found a nice heavy one to do the job.  Let sit 30 minutes.  
Drain off water, slice into 1/2 inch strips (or whatever size you like). 

Marinate with your favorite marinade for 20 to 60 minutes.  I used the following mix:

1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
juice from 1/2 lime
sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Bake at 375 on a greased cookie sheet for 40 to 60 minutes, until desired chewiness.  Serve in strips or chop up.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 3 of Eating In Week: Morning Rice Cornucopia and other concoctions

Well, it's Day 3 of Eating In Week and today is going to be a little more challenging because I am at working for 12 hours today!  That means I had to plan for 2 meals and some snacks.  It's tempting to eat at work because the cafeteria there feeds me for free!  But since it's Eating In Week and they use all disposable serving utensils and plates, I'm packing up my bags of food.  I started the day with a nice medley of leftover rice, pecans, cranberries, pears, flax seed and vanilla soymilk.  Delicious!

 For lunch, I'm having:
Snacks include almonds, chocolate chips, cranberries, baby carrots and apple.

For dinner, I'm having:
To keep myself on track, I am bringing my own tea with me:  Twig, Irish Breakfast, Green with Mint and Vanilla Blend White.

    Pure Pleasure Pumpkin Soup

    This is a delicious hearty soup that uses up those leftover holiday pumpkins!

    Cut a small pie pumpkin in half.  Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, until guts are soft.  Scoop out seeds.  Peel and slice the pumpkin.

    Saute in a large pot:

    1 small onion
    1 chopped sweet potato
    2 bay leaves
    2 cloves garlic
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1 teaspoon parsley
    1 teaspoon chives
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Add pumpkin and 4 cups of water.   Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Add 2 ounces goat cheese (or silken tofu) and puree in a blender.  We served it with Remarkable Red Pepper Dip on corn tortillas, toasted mochi with Dijon Barley Malt Dipping Sauce and brussel sprouts.

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    Gnocchi with Spicy Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce

    So, for Day 2 of Eating In Week, I decided that some warm pasta would be nice on this cold rainy night.  Have you tried gnocchi?  Gnocchi is potato and flour dumplings from Northern Italy.  You can dress up gnocchi with pesto, marinara and cream sauces or it stands alone beautifully with just a little bit of olive oil and garlic.  I have been craving the indulgent vodka tomato cream sauce that I have tried at restaurants.  Well, I have lightened up this version, making it almost fat free and vegan.  
    You make gnocchi just like pasta.  Bring 1 pound of gnocchi to boil, boil for 3 minutes, drain and toss with the sauce.

    To make the sauce, saute in a medium saucepan:

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 teaspoons of parsley
    1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
    4 minced garlic cloves

    Add one 28 oz can whole tomatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Puree in a blender with 1/2 cup silken tofu.  Transfer back to saucepan, heat gently and add 2 tablespoons of vodka (I had to pinch some from the neighbors).  Heat one minute, then toss with the gnocchi.  Serve with a nice Italian salad.

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    It's Eating In Week!

    Okay readers. the Eating In Challenge is on!  So far, I have made two lunch dates to eat in at my house and dinner plans for Saturday night to eat in at some friends' house.  Tonight is going to be simple, some leftovers.  I think I will make mom's Zesty Zucchini Zoup for lunch tomorrow and my friend is going to bring over some homemade cornbread.  What are your plans for Eating In?

    Update:  We threw together some veggie tacos for dinner.  Not too bad...

    Sunday, February 21, 2010

    Swell Sweet Potato Thai Stew

    I found this recipe at VegNews and it seemed interesting.  Making up a big batch of stew is a good lead in to Eating In Week.

    Saute in a large pot:

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 medium onion, quartered and thinly slices
    4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
    1 medium green or red bell pepper, cut into narrow strips
    1⁄2 teaspoon red or green curry paste, more or less to taste
    2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
    2 stalks lemongrass (optional)
    1 teaspoon salt

    Then add:

    3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1-1⁄2 pounds), peeled and diced
    3 cups water
    1-1⁄2 cups frozen green beans (I used soybeans)

    Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft.  The add one 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk, 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter and one 8-ounce package Thai peanut-flavored baked tofu, diced (optional).  Garnish with cilantro leaves.  Serve with brown rice, or over brown rice.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    All Star Almond Butter

     This is an easy way to make your own spread and it is super healthy because there are no added hydrogenated fats, preservatives, sugars or high fructose corn syrup.  Usually we buy the grind-it-yourself peanut butter at Whole Foods, but we ran out the other day and we had a surplus of nuts in the pantry.  I decided to whip up some Almond Butter and it is so simple and satisfying.

    Blend until a "butter" in a food processor:

    2 cups raw almonds (I prefer unsalted)
    1/2 cup water
    3 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil

    You can alter the consistency by altering the oil or water.  Store in a glass jar (bonus- less packaging) in the refrigerator.

    Friday, February 19, 2010

    Eating In Challenge

    Okay readers, this is a cool challenge for everyone and I hope it will be inspirational.  Next week is "Eating In" week.  That means for seven days, I'm going to eat in (or bring my own food) for all my meals.  Author and New Yorker, Cathy Erway pledged strictly to eat in or take her own food for two years while living and working in New York City.  I am in awe of such discipline!  She chronicled her food adventures on her blog, Not Eating Out in New York:  Consuming Less, Eating More.  Now she has published a book, The Art of Eating In, that expands on the subject of not eating out and includes some delicious looking recipes.

    So, I'm signing onto the week of eating in.  We're going to get our grocery list together and go shopping!  I'm not much a menu planner, but I am going to at least think 12 hours ahead this week so we'll be prepared.  I challenge you to join us!  Just click on the link below to get started.

    The Week of Eating In 

    And to learn more about The Art of Eating In, watch the author's short video here.

    Okay, I'm getting organized and plan to blog about my Eating In adventures next week. If you participate in this challenge, please let me know how it goes, what you cook and what you missed.

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Wicked Wheatberry Salad

    I threw together this hearty salad with a few odds and ends from the pantry and fridge.  The result was surprisingly good.

    Cook 1 cup of hard winter wheatberries (I threw a cup of grains in the rice cooker with 2 1/2 cups of water).  Combine in a large bowl:

    1/2 head shredded cabbage
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    1/2 cup dried cranberries
    2 stalks green onions
    1 large roasted red pepper
    2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
    2 tablespoons of olive or sunflower oil
    1 teaspoon basil

    Enjoy with a nice cup of soup and some bread.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Splendid Split Pea Soup

    This is a nice warm soup for cold days!  It is easy to make, healthy and tasty.  I modified the recipe from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant.

    We served this up with black bean tacos, wheatberry salad and chocolate chip cookies.  

    Soak 1 cup green split peas in water overnight.

    Saute in a large pot until soft:

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 medium chopped onions
    2 cloves garlic
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Add split peas and saute on high heat for 5 minutes.  Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    Vegan Valentines Day Truffles

    Well readers, I made truffles for the first time ever and am blessed to be a guest writer on Kiran's blog, Wish.

    So, for recipes and more photos, please jump over to Wish and check them out!

    Awwww yum Artichoke Spinach Dip

    Thanks to my fellow bloggers for their inspiration.  On Friday night, I took Kiran's lead and had a at home date night with this delicious warm artichoke spinach dip.  Kiran used a recipe from The Kind Diet for her version, which you can find on her blog Wish.  I made a few more of my own changes.  It's easy to make this recipe vegan or non-vegan.  Veganaise seemed to work quite well instead of mayonnaise.  We served it with corn tortilla chips and little toasts.  Savor!

    Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine in a bowl:

    1 can drained artichoke hearts
    1 cup spinach (I used frozen)
    1 cup Veganaise (or mayonnaise)
    3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (vegan or dairy)
    2 minced garlic cloves
    1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Blend everything together and fold into a glass baking dish.  Top with additional 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Bake 30 minutes until warm and cheese on top is slightly toasted.

    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Best Bean Salad

    Muchas gracias to my friend and neighbor Dawn for this tasty recipe.  On my street, we tend to share our leftovers or magic foods with each other.  Well, it was a nice surprise to come home and have a container full of this delicious treat waiting for us on the porch!  Here's Dawn's post::

    Combine in a bowl:

    1 can black beans (drained)
    1 can red beans (drained)
    1 can garbanzo beans- also called chick peas (drained)
    1 can black olives (drained)
    1 can artichoke hearts
    1 bag broccoli or cabbage salad (can be found with the pre-packaged salad at the grocery store)
    3 chopped green onions (or sometimes I use 1 small red onion)
    Couple tablespoons sliced green olives (to taste)
    Couple tablespoons sliced pepperoncini (to taste)
    Couple teaspoons minced garlic (to taste)

    I just mix all of these ingredients in a large bowl then add a vinaigrette dressing. Sometimes I make my own with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sometimes I use a salad dressing that I buy at the grocery store. Paul Newman's Balsamic Vinegar is my favorite store bought dressing. You can also add cooked pasta or rice, if you like. It is kind of one of those things that you can add in what sounds good to you and take out what you might not like. I am so glad you liked it!  I hope your readers enjoy!

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Give a Little Love

    Valentines Day is coming up and people are running around the malls and shops buying stuffed animals, jewelry, flowers and cards.  Matt and I are terribly unromantic and tend to skip the occasion all together.  This year we are going to celebrate by spreading a little love to people who are hungry right now.  Giving the gift of food and sustenance is so much more satisfying than a manufactured product.  Please join us in spreading the love for Valentines Day.  Consider donating to your local food bank.  You can get started at Feeding America.  Just click on the link and go to the tab that says "Find a Food Bank."

    Gentle Ginger "Steaks" and Carrots

    So, my shameless reliance of The Kind Diet and its recipes continues.    I'm not much of a tofu eater, but I decided to give it try for the sake of variety.  I made these "steaks" last night.   They're pretty easy to make and even tastier if you give them some time to marinate.  Since I was grating ginger, I decided to make up a ginger carrot and cabbage dish. 

    Lately I've been experimenting with fresh ginger because I enjoy its unusual and refreshing flavor.  Ginger is used abundantly in Indian, Asian and African dishes and is also a medicinal herb.  Herbalists recognize and use ginger for its anti-nausea and beneficial digestive properties.  When my stomach is off, I find that a cup of ginger tea settles it nicely. 
    Enjoy these tasty ginger flavored recipes.

    Ginger Tofu Steaks

    To make the marinade, combine in a glass cooking pan:

    1/3 cup soy sauce
    1 tablespoon sesame, sunflower, safflower or olive oil
    2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1/4 cup rice vinegar
    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon cruched red pepper flakes
    1 teaspoon brown rice syrup
    1/3 cup chopped green onions

    Cut extra firm tofu block (1 pound) in to half lengthwise and then half widthwise.  Add to marinade, coat thoroughly and let marinate at least 1 hour. 

    Preheat oven to 375F.  Drain off about 1/2 the marinating liquid.  You can keep this sauce for dipping later or discard.  Bake tofu steaks 40 minutes. 

    Ginger Carrots and Cabbage

    Saute in a pan:

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 cups grated carrots
    2 cups grated cabbage
    1/2 cup water
    salt and pepper to taste

    Serve with rice and tofu steaks and enjoy!

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Must See Food TV

    Okay, this is a big day in the world of ChunkyChef because I learned to embed video in my posts!! This big move was inspired by today's morning edition of Democracy Now that featured food expert Michael Pollan. You might remember him from previous posts. Anyhow, I listened to the show on the radio today and it was great. So, if you would like to know more about what's in your food, what shouldn't be in your food, where your food comes from, what powers determine what we eat, the politics of food and more, please watch the show!

    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    Healthy Foodies Superbowl

    I'm not much of a TV watcher, but I heard that food guru Michael Pollan and vegan Alicia Silverstone were going to be on the Oprah show.  I had to see this!  Fortunately, my friend Janette saved me from having to dig out a blank tape to throw into the VCR because she has DVR and she recorded it for me.  It was an awesome show and Oprah did a great job of covering all the bases:  different types of diets, nutrition tidbits, discussion of factory farming and many, many resources.  For healthy foodie like me, it was the Superbowl.

    You can watch clips from the show here:  Before You Grocery Shop Again  or read the entire show's transcript here:  Food 101.

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Shannon's Supershake with Banana and Oats

    When I was visiting my friends Shannon and Melissa in St. Louis, Shannon made the most tasty breakfast shake.  I asked for the recipe and here it is:

    It's simple and everybody seems to like it.  You can freeze it too for an icy treat.

    Blend all ingredients at once in a blender until smooth:

    1 ripe banana
    1/4 cu oats
    1/2 cu yogurt (plain, vanilla, mango or whatever you like)
    1/2 cu milk
    1 tbs honey (or more if desired)
    1/2 tsp cinnamon (as desired)

    It makes a nice quick breakfast or a tasty after dinner treat.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    Kiran's Kind Chocolate Chip Cookies

    I am excited, because my dear friend in California, Kiran, is guest hosting this blog entry.  Please check out her blog at Wish.  Please enjoy her contribution to Chunky Chef, in her words:

    One of my favorite things to do with my kids is cook.  It is one area where I have enough confidence in the outcome that I can just let them have fun with it.  It is almost always a relaxed and fun activity for all of us.  Even the 1 year old is starting to get in on the action with an occasional stir or dump of ingredients.  Last week we had several days of rain and cookie baking is the perfect rainy day activity.  My two boys seem to have very different palates.  One loves chocolate more than any other food (he takes after his grandmother for sure).  The other has declared that he hates chocolate and only likes vanilla desserts.  So it is always a big debate when we are going to make a dessert...what kind shall we make?  who will we please?  Since the weather was so gross and we had nowhere to be I decided on this day that we'd make chocolate chip cookies AND snickerdoodles.  Since I have recently made a switch to a vegan lifestyle the cookies had to be vegan.  I consulted several cookbooks and recipes and came up with adaptations/combinations of recipes I found in Vegan Lunch Box and Babycakes, based on what ingredients I had in the house.  Some vegan dessert recipes have weird ingredients.  Using applesauce to replace some of the margarine makes a moist and cakey cookie which my 4 year old thought would make excellent ice cream sandwiches.  If only the cookies had lasted long enough to try it.

    For the snickerdoodles we used this recipe ( from Vegan Yum Yum.  Yum Yum indeed!

    Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies:

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
    2 1/4 C whole wheat pastry flour
    3/4 t baking soda
    1/4 sea salt
    1/2 stick earth balance butter flavored margarine, softened
    1/2 C applesauce
    3/4 C maple sugar or sucanat or brown sugar
    3/4 C white sugar
    3/4 C silken tofu, drained
    1 1/2 t vanilla
    1 package of vegan chocolate chips (because we like lots of chocolate)

    In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking soda and salt

    In a large bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer) beat margarine, applesauce, sugars, tofu and vanille until light and fluffy.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Add chocolate chips.

    Place large spoonfuls of cookie dough on baking sheets  3 inches apart.  Bake until dark golden brown around edges, about 15 minutes.  Let sit on baking sheets for a minute or so then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

    Monday, February 1, 2010


    This meal was inspired by my recent lunch at Ruggles Green.  It was easy to make and so tasty.

    Roast vegetables in oven or pan saute them.  I used the following:  tomatoes, red peppers, delicata squash, onions and mushrooms.

    Assemble the following on a plate:

    cooked quinoa
    roasted vegetables
    Roasted Kale

    Drizzle with Dijon Barley Malt Dipping Sauce.

    Dig in and enjoy!

    Dijon Barley Malt Dipping Sauce

    This sauce is another gem from The Kind Life.  I first made this dipping sauce to serve on black eyed pea croquettes, but I love it so much that I am using it on so many foods.  It's a great sauce to add instant "charm" to grains, beans, greens and anything else.

    Mix in a bowl:
    1/4 cup barley malt syrup
    2 tablespoons chunky dijon mustard
    Heat up in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir to blend and serve over your favorite meal.

    Really! Roasted Kale

    The other day, I had the most delicious lunch at Ruggles Green.  Thanks Janette for ordering the local vegetarian plate.  Wow!!  Now, it was good enough to eat there everyday, but my wallet can't afford it.  The most stunning part of the meal was the roasted kale- which is crazy crisp treat.  It's simple to make and you will be blown away by its deliciousness.  Please enjoy.

    Preheat oven to 350F.

    Remove kale greens from stems and chop into large pieces.  Toss with oil (olive, safflower or sunflower), salt and pepper.  Roast in a glass baking dish for 20 minutes or until  leaves are crisp.  You can serve with a dipping sauce, nuts, grains or eat as a quick snack.

    Mesmerizing Mochi Morning Mix and Warm Cabbage Slaw

    You may recall my rave reviews for mochi, the pressed brown rice treat.  Well, I tried sesame garlic mochi for the first time for breakfast.  Since it is not a sweet mochi, I sweetened up the dish with some warm cabbage slaw.

    Preheat oven to 450F.  Cut mochi into 2 inch slices and arrange on greased baking sheet.  Cook for 10 minutes- until puffed up and crisp on the outside.

    To make cabbage slaw, grate 2 cups green or purple cabbage and one large apple.  Saute in a large pan with:

    1 tablespoon
    sunflower or safflower oil
    handful of raisins
    handful of walnuts

    Scoop cabbage slaw into a bowl.  Put mochi pieces on top and drizzle with agave nectar or brown rice syrup.