Archive for November, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!! Jo and I are in the middle of cooking the ginormous vegan T-day feast…we’ve got the family noshing on pico and tortilla chips to keep the hunger monsters out of our kitchen (and out of our hair..hehe). It’s all smelling so good, and I hope ya’ll are having a delicious vegan Thanksgiving – save room for pie! 🙂

-Sara and Jo

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Sweet Food Porn..

With the holidays coming, me working like a mad woman, and the oven still being on the outs..my kitchen time has been minimal. I apologize sincerely for the lack of recipes, but Jo and I shall be back in action after the holiday with recipes galore…so to tide you over, I offer you food porn for recipes to come that I haven’t had time to gather together for posting. Enjoy!

white chocolate chips

That’s right, vegan white chocolate chips – I got them at Cosmo’s, and they are fabulous!


Mmm…sweet nectar for granola…

caramel bonbons xsection

…caramel bonbons…

chocolate coated donut holes

Chocolate coated donut holes – anyone else drooling yet? And the best yet to come…holiday cookies!!!

Festivus 07 cookies

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Mmm… stuffing. It wouldn’t be a holiday meal without some delicious cornbread stuffing, that you just can’t get enough of.


one batch of Texas Cornbread, broken up in a large bowl (you can make it the night before and let it dry out overnight)

2 medium poblano chiles (or 1/4 tsp cayenne)

4 TBS Earth Balance Buttery Sticks

2 small onions

2 medium celery ribs

4 medium carrots

2 TBS minced garlic

1 TBS dried oregano

1 TBS dried sage

1 TBS salt

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 C veggie broth


1. Roast chiles over a gas flame, or under the broiler until skin is charred. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 15 minutes. Peel, core, seed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

2. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with Earth Balance. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. In a large skillet, melt the Earth Balance over medium-high heat. Saute onions, celery, carrots and garlic until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in oregano, sage, salt, pepper and roasted chiles.

4. Add to bowl with cornbread, along with the veggie broth. Stir everything together, and transfer to baking dish.

5. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir and bake an additional 15-20 minutes.


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Holiday De-stress Tea

With the holidays comes stress…at least for some of us. Stress can weaken our immune system, and being around family who you don’t see all the time – especially those with children – can bring germs you’re not used to fighting. Ergo, your body becomes an ideal battleground for a cold and flu attack! So de-stress and boost your immune system this holiday with a cup of tea, black or green are both good, but I like the herbal blend below for serious de-stressing and immune boosting. Even just the act of taking 5 minutes out of your day to sit quietly with a cup of tea can do wonders for the stress level!elderberry-tea

DeStressing tea:

1 tsp chamomile loose-leaf tea (or 1 tea bag)
1 tsp elder berries (loose or 1 tea bag)
pinch of ginger
slice of lemon *optional for an extra vitamin C boost
8 oz freshly drawn and boiled water

Steep the chamomile, elder berries (in a tea sac if using loose), and pinch of ginger in the 8 oz freshly boiled water 5-8 minutes. Remove tea leaves/bags, and toss in slice of lemon. You can also sweeten with some nectar if you like.

*Note: The elder berries will give the tea a reddish/purplish hue.

Happy Teatime!

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Giving Thanks, Tex-Mex Style

Here’s a representation of a typical Turk family Thanksgiving. This was our 2006 T-day menu! For the last 3 years, the Thanksgivings have been totally vegan, and for about 4 or so years before that they were vegetarian. So hopefully this will give you guys some help, or at least some inspiration, on what to serve or bring to the meal if it’s your first or 50th vegan Thanksgiving! In addition to this menu, Jo and I have/will be posting some other dishes that would be delicious and perhaps we’ll even include them in our own future holiday meals..but here’s what we’ve had in the past. It is a bit on the Tex-Mex side of themes, but not every holiday has to be traditional right?!


Cinnamon rolls
Fresh fruit and juice

Thanksgiving Meal – usually a late lunch/early dinner:

Basic greens salad with a little lemon, olive oil, and herb dressing
Black Bean Tamales with Pico de gallo
Mashed Potatoes
Sautéed Mixed Veggies (Broccoli, peas, spinach, red bell pepper, carrots, etc)
Blue Texas Cornbread Dressing
Mashed potato house rolls
Chianti Classico


Pecan Pie
Blueberry Tart
German Riesling

Some of these recipes are already posted, others are coming, and we get the tamales from Texas Tamale Company. For some people (maybe just South Texans like us), tamales are a big part of the Christmas holiday, but we decided to have them for our Thanksgivings as well since we were no longer participating in the cruelty of having a turkey. I don’t have photos because we weren’t blogging and taking pics of food back then..but I’ll be sure to take tons this year!!

Other years we’ve made a red chile enchilada-like sauce (but a bit thicker, like a chili with some diced tomatoes added in) for the tamales, used yellow cornmeal for the dressing, etc..but one thing that remains constant is the mashed potatoes! We always have mashed potatoes – and we make about a ton of them! Other ideas that we’ve posted up to this point that I think would be yummy at a T-day meal: Jo’s Cranberry-Almond Green Beans, New Potato and Green Bean Salad, Potato Gratin, Roasted Thyme Potatoes, and if you’re going for a Tex-Mex theme offer the Tomatillo Salsa in addition to Pico!

Happy Cooking!

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apple streusel ice cream6Apple Pie à la mode? Apple Streusel à la mode? How about apple streusel pie IN la mode! Ah, hahaa! I don’t even think that makes grammatical sense, but who cares..the holidays are almost upon us, and it’s time for calorie-free, guilt-free, nonsensical noshing! Okay, so technically it’s only calorie-free on birthdays and actual holidays, so don’t overindulge until next Thursday…but I digress. I’ve never made apple pie..I know, how unAmerican – but I never liked cooked apples until I went to Canada this past July, so take that for what you will! So whether or not this ice cream actually tastes like apple pie, those of you who are aficionados of the dessert can let me know. I looked up recipes and used the spices common in apple pies, so hopefully it’s close – either way, it’s tasty! I don’t know if it’s the holiday spirit or what, but I added in an extra teaspoon of vodka and so far, the ice cream is so super soft and delicious…


Streusel:apple streusel ice cream1
3 TBSP cold Earth Balance Vegan Butter
1/3 C AP or oat flour
1/4 C packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 C diced peeled apple bits (jonathan, rome, granny smith, braeburn, fiji – any sturdy fleshed apple of your choice)

Ice Cream:
1 C coconut milk or MimicCreme (Sugar-free Sweetened)
1 C hemp/oat milk
1/2 C brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of clove
pinch of mace
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp vodka

Optional Add-ins:
1/2 C walnuts or pecans, (regular or sweet without the spicy) roughly chopped


1. Make the ice cream: Warm both milks, sugar, and spices over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved and the mixture starts to steam but not boil, stirring to facilitate the process. Transfer to a bowl and add extracts and vodka (if using). Place in fridge to chill, covered in plastic wrap if the container doesn’t have a lid, at least 1 hour (to overnight).
2. Make the streusel: In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in the vegan butter until crumbly (either with a food processor, two knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingers). In a non-stick (non-teflon) saute pan, warm the apple-sugar blend over medium-low heat until sugar is melted and apples are tender, about 8-10 min, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, let sit at room temp at least 15 minutes. Set aside to chill alongside the ice cream mixture.

apple streusel ice cream2apple streusel ice cream3

Let the apples simmer until it starts to caramelize a bit..mmm…

apple streusel ice cream4 3. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers directions. When the ice cream has about 5 minutes to go (after about 15 minutes for me), add the apple streusel and any nuts, if using. It’s hard to see the apples and nuts in the pic below, but I promise they’re in there!

apple streusel ice cream5

This ice cream actually tastes better once it has a day to sit – so make it a day or two ahead of time. This would be excellent with some caramel drizzled over it, or even atop a slice of pie for a double-apple experience 🙂 or cake..or perhaps even some walnut shortbread for an impromptu sundae!

Happy Freezing!

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In this dish, several hearty grains are combined in an appealing, creamy Fall pilaf-type risotto. I wonder if this could be more accurately described as a “Risolaf” since it is quite close in resemblance of a pilaf, yet is creamy like a risotto. Since you aren’t using arborio rice (typical for risotto’s), would it even classify as a risotto? Here at the Primate it does, as seen in my Creamy Orzo! I also think it’s multi-functional as it’s a side, yet can hold it’s own as a main dish (if you added in some more veg such as peas, carrots, and roasted butternut squash). Think of it as a cross between a rice pilaf and a creamy risotto, with cranberries! I love the random bite of tartness from the cranberries, and the warm comfort of creamy grains! This could perhaps be a yummy side dish at a Thanksgiving table… As a side it should serve about 6-8, and as a main course I think it could make 4 servings.

Ingredients:creamy pilaf1

3/4 C walnuts, roughly chopped
1 TBSP canola or vegetable oil
3/4 C brown basmati rice
1/4 C amaranth
1/4 C quinoa
1/4 C millet
1/2 C dried cranberries
3/4 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper, to tastecreamy pilaf2
2 C vegetable broth
1 C water


1. In a fry pan over medium heat, toast the walnuts, stirring constantly, until lightly fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the rice, amaranth, quinoa and millet and stir until the grains are coated with the oil and hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the cranberries, salt, pepper, broth and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the grains are tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 40-45 minutes.

creamy pilaf3
3. Stir in the walnuts. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.

creamy pilaf4

*Additions/variations: I think pine nuts would be excellent in this dish, pending you have the funds to splurge on pine nuts. Another good nut that I think would be tasty is pecans. You could also play with the fruit and nut combo, using dried cherries with almonds in place of cranberries and walnuts, respectively. If you can’t find one of the grains, increase the others to make up for the absence. This dish is very gluten-free friendly as is, but feel free to use bulgur or any grain that tickles your gluten-tolerant fancy.

creamy pilaf5

Happy Cooking!

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Thanksgiving is coming soon – and most of us know about the suffering that goes on to ‘celebrate’ this holiday, or otherwise described as a ritual sacrifice, “To commemorate a past event you kill and eat an animal. It’s a ritual sacrifice…with pie.” So instead of murdering our avian friends, how about sponsoring a turkey and help Farm Sanctuary rescue and care for turkeys at their sanctuary (you don’t even have to take in a turkey!). I realize money is tight these days, so instead of taking $25 and putting it towards a turkey to eat, how about giving that money to saving a turkey..then let yourself overindulge in guiltless, murder-free dishes, such as vegan pecan pie, or perhaps some decadent chocolate cake smothered in caramel sauce, vegan vanilla ice cream, jimmies and chopped nuts…*drooling now*…. We all deserve a thankful holiday, even the turkeys!


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white bean herb4Here’s a change from that standard bean spread/dip that we vegans all know and love – hummus. Using white beans gives a nice change from the normal, and adding in sage and rosemary turns it into an Autumnal delight. And don’t worry about the tiny bit of cayenne that is called for, there is no fear that anyone could possibly consider this dip spicy. Now, if you’re like me and want a bit more of a kick, up the cayenne to 1/4-1/2 tsp..but that’s only for the bravest of palate! 🙂


1/8 C plus 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp finely chopped sage
1/2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
one 19-oz cans cannellini beans, drained [1 C cooked beans]
1 TBSP broth or water
1/8-1/4 tsp salt (to taste)
pinch to 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
pita chips, for serving


1. Heat 1/8 C olive oil in skillet. Add garlic, sage, rosemary and cook over moderate high heat, until garlic begins to brown [about 1 min]. Add beans and toss to coat.

white bean herb1white bean herb2
2. Transfer to food processor. Add water, season with salt and cayenne. Process to fairly smooth puree.

white bean herb3
3. Transfer to small serving bowl. Drizzle remaining 1 TBSP oil on top and serve with pita.

white bean herb5

Happy Cooking!

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spicy grain soup1What could be better on a chilly night than a spicy soup full of healthy, hearty grains? Ok, maybe a cup of hot chocolate donning a giant Sweet & Sara marshmallow while lounging by a roaring fire, a box of vegan chocolates with a Johnny Depp DVD box-set and a roaring fire, or Vincenzo (the young, delicious Italian who caters to my every whim) tending to the roaring fire and giving me a foot massage…ok, ok.. but this soup is still pretty kick-ass, if only I had a roaring fire…hmm…This recipe will serve about 6-8 people — I’ve had leftovers for days now and it’s still yummy! I would call this recipe easy, but not necessarily quick – unless you have leftover rice….


1/2 C wheatberries
water to cover
1/2 C brown rice
1/2 C bulgur
1 TBSP light olive oil
1 fresno chile or other hot pepper – roughly chopped, for more heat use 2 chiles, but for a mild D-level heat use just the 1
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 qt (4 C) vegetable broth
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
6 cilantro sprigs, plus 1/4 C chopped cilantro
1 tsp ground allspice
kosher salt and pepper to taste
one 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed [1.5 C cooked beans]
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced *optional
1 medium potato, diced


1. Make the rice and soak wheatberries: In a medium saucepan, cover the wheatberries with water and set aside. In another medium saucepan, cover the brown rice with 2 C of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until tender, about 45 minutes. *Side note: Wheatberries are a bit chewy, not crunchy – at least that’s how mine came out. I’d never had them before and didn’t know what to expect, so mine were chewy, in case anyone else is new to them too.

wheatberries soaked and drained
2. In a medium bowl, cover the bulgur with 1 C hot water. Cover and let stand until the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

bulgur presoakbulgur postsoak
3. In a large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil. Add the chiles, onion, and garlic. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, cilantro sprigs and allspice. Season with 2 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, bring wheatberries to a boil, let simmer 20 minutes, turn off the heat and set aside (do not drain until ready to add in step 4). Let onion/broth ‘soup’ cool slightly. Puree the soup in a blender and return to the pan – or it’s even easier if you are so lucky to have an immersion blender (that’s definitely going on my wish list this year).

spicy grain soup2
4. Add the wheatberries, black beans, carrot, zucchini, and potato to the pureed soup and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes. Add the rice and bulgur and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.

spicy grain soup3

*Gluten-sensitive note: This soup is definitely NOT for celiacs or those with gluten sensitivities. The first bowl I had was fine, but when I went back for a small second bowl I started to feel feverish. I never been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, but I do find that if I consume to much gluten the scenario isn’t good – fever, lethargy, etc. You could leave out the bulgur and try quinoa in it’s place, and use millet in place of the wheatberries (for both you could add in with the veg since they can both be cooked within 20 minutes) to make it more gluten-free acceptable.

Happy Cooking!

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