Archive for August, 2009

potato-tomato casserole1So Mandy – a friend of mine and Jo’s – recently directed me to her blog, Sweet and Savory. While not a vegan blog, some of the recipes looked to good not to attempt veganization. And, in true Primate fashion, I’m instantly drawn to the first potato dish I see. This recipe was pure genius, layers of potatoes and tomatoes…ugh, can it get any better? So I tell her that I’m going to try out the recipe….and she says to me “I cannot imagine it being good without all the cheese, so you will have to let me know!” Of course, as vegans we know that sometimes things can be better without cheese if not just as tasty, so I had no doubt I could make it veganly to-die-for. And hoo-doggy is this dish super great! My usual secret ingredient to provide fatty goodness and creamy lusciousness, almond meal. I went to the fridge and realized I had taken my almond meal and left it at dad’s house…so I had none and was forced to grind my own slivered almonds into almond meal. I left it a bit chunkier than if I had used almond meal, so that can be an option. I think it would be good either way! So here’s the recipe, and let’s all thank Mandy for providing us with such wonderful inspiration! 🙂


2 large red or yellow onions (I used on of each) – sliced in rounds on a mandolin
2-3 large potatoes, thinly sliced – a mandoline makes this easy
3-4 fresh tomatoes (the freshest and most flavorful you can find)
A few leaves of fresh basil (or oregano and thyme if you’re not into basil)
6 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1/3-1/2 C ground almonds or almond meal
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup of water


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush a solid amount of olive oil on the bottom of a medium-large baking dish. Arrange a layer of onions on the bottom of the dish. Next, arrange a layer of potatoes and then a layer of tomatoes on top of that.

onion slicespotato slices 2. Drizzle with olive oil, a little almond meal – about a handful maybe, salt, and pepper on top of all of it. For the final layer, overlap potatoes and tomatoes (ratatouille-style). Garnish with torn pieces of basil, remaining almond meal, salt, pepper, and the remainder of the oil.

potato-tomato top layerpotato-tomato-almond 3. Pour the water down the corner to get it to the bottom and not run all the spices off. Bake for 1 hour or until all layers of potato are tender. The top should be lightly browned and have crisp edges.

potato-tomato casserole

Happy Baking!


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Devil w a Blueberry Dress On2I am deeply sorry for the unexpected hiatus from posting this week! Unfortunately life can get in the way of more enjoyable activities like posting yummy recipes for all of you who take time to visit the Primate.. 🙂 I’m working on some stuff that will totally blow off your bamboo bobby socks, so hopefully all will soon be forgiven. Until then, I want to share a smoothie – something I haven’t given you in a while! This recipe makes about 16 ounces, which gives you the option of sharing or enjoying a large smoothie all by yourself!

Ingredients:Devil w a Blueberry Dress On1

2 C blueberries (1C fresh, 1C frozen)
3-4 mango chunks
1/4-1/2 tsp minced ginger
2-3 TBSP So Delicious Coconut Milk beverage – otherwise abbreviated as CM beverage, right Penny 😉


Place fruit and ginger in a blender and purée until smooth; adding a TBSP at a time of the coconut milk to facilitate the blending process.

Happy Blending!!


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Refried Beans

Mmm… Mexican food.



1 pound pinto beans

1 TBS canola oil

1 tsp cumin, coriander

1-2 TBS minced garlic

2 tsp salt


1.  Soak beans in a large bowl of water for at least 6 hours.  Overnight, or while you’re at work are perfect times.

2.  Rinse beans thoroughly.  Cook in fresh water at a low simmer for about 1.5 hours.  Beans should be very soft.

3.  Pour the cooking water out into a container.  You’ll want to keep at least 4 cups.

4.  Once water is drained, add the oil and garlic to the pan.  Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add salt and spices.

5.  Reduce heat to low.  Add 3-4 cups of the water back about 1/2 C at a time, while mashing the beans with a potato masher.  Total amount of water will depend on your texture preference.

6.  Continue to simmer the beans over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add more water if they get too dry for you.

Refried beans and a little pico de gallo make for some easy and delicious nachos, or serve along with your favorite Mexican dishes.


On this Day in History: Cranberry Almond Green Beans.



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Who doesn’t like potato chips?  Nobody!  But I’m sure many of us don’t eat a lot of them since they’re so oily.  Luckily, you can make chips at home and control the oil and salt levels.  Since they’re baked, not fried, I just toss them with a little bit of olive oil.  Of course, it’s easiest if you have a mandolin to slice the taters quickly and easily.  Otherwise, a cheese slicer leftover from your pregan days can work.  Or, you can just practice your knife work. 🙂  For the best chips, you’ll want a starchy russet or yukon golds.  Blue potatoes definitely add some interesting color, but they crisp up unevenly.



olive oil

salt and pepper – to taste


1.  Preheat oven to 475 degrees (aka hotter than the sun).

2.  Slice potatoes with a mandolin, as thick or thin as you like.

3.  In  a large bowl, toss potato slices with olive oil.

4.  Spread in a single layer (not overlapping) on a cookie sheet.  Bake thin slices for 20 minutes, or thick slices for up to 40.  Check every 10 minutes and remove any chips that have browned, then let the rest keep cooking.

5.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and enjoy!


On This Day in History:  Summer Rolls


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Another super simple recipe – maybe I should dub this ‘Super Simple Recipe Week’. Here’s a variation on the Orange Pekoe Sun Tea – inspired by a comment Jo left on said post (so leave comments, your happenstance idea might inspire a new creation). She mentioned the addition of lemons, so that inspired me to write up this little diddy! I must say, it is delicious – I wouldn’t be posting it if it wasn’t. The lemon and jasmine complement the Ceylon/Orange Pekoe so well…it’s like a match made in the sun. I ended up drinking the whole pitcher within 3 days – and that was because I forced myself to ration it. 😉


4-6 bags Ceylon tea (or 4-6 tsp loose tea) – like the OP Sun Tea, I used Twinnings
1/2-1 lemon, washed and sliced into rounds
2 tsp jasmine flowers
2 qts cold water


In a lidded pitcher, place the tea bags, jasmine flowers, and lemon slices. Fill with 2 qts cold water and place in sun for 2.5-3 hours. Strain into a pitcher and sweeten with sugar/nectar if desired (Since it isn’t as strong as a hot tea, I didn’t need to sweeten mine). Serve chilled, over ice and enjoy with a black bean burger!black bean burger and potato wedges

**I apologize for not having a fresh picture, but it looked exactly like the glass in the photo! 🙂

Happy Teatime!

On this day in History: Mint-Chip Vegan Ice Cream

mint-chip IC2


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Pina Colada CM yogurt“If you like Piña Coladas ….and getting caught in the rain…” then you will undoubtedly love this dessert! There are two things you just can’t beat: Escape (The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes and vegan frozen yogurt that is reminiscent of that beautiful summertime umbrella drink, the Piña Colada! Who doesn’t like the combination of pineapple and coconut? And this frozen yogurt can’t get any easier…. This recipe makes about 4 C liquid..so upon freezing that will slightly expand. So if you’re looking for something to indulge with “…in the dunes on the cape…I’m the love (er..frozen yogurt) that you’ve looked for …come with me and escape!”


1 medium pineapple, roughly choppedPina Colada Fro Yo
2 containers So Delicious Piña Colada Coconut Milk yogurt
*this is a more pineapple than coconut flavor, so for a stronger coconut flavor, add in some coconut extract – maybe 1-2 tsp


1. Chop pineapple, open frozen yogurt containers. Add to blender.
2. Blend until smooth, then freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions (mine took about 25-30 minutes). Freeze for 30 min to let “ripen”… and enjoy!

Pina Colada Fro Yo2

Happy Freezing!

On this day in History: I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill Scones


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Green-Yellow beansI’m not normally a huge fan of peanut sauces, though I’ll eat them. The problem I find with most peanut sauce recipes is that they are overwhelmingly peanut buttery. If I want to eat peanut butter, I’ll slather it on a bar of Endangered Species or Dagoba chocolate – not on pasta 😉 But if you want a sauce that tastes like peanuts and not like peanut butter + spices, this is the one for you. I’ve adapted the recipe from Vegetarian Classics by Jeanne Lemlin. The recipe serves 4 as a main course, and I bet it would be excellent served with a spring roll appetizer. Oh, and if you’re wondering about the name of the dish..one of my lady’s has been on me to post a peanut sauce practically since the inception of the blog…so here’s to you Dr. Zeigler!! (Oh and don’t feel sorry for her wait..she’s also one of my taste-testers, so she’s been compensated for waiting 🙂 )


1/4 C shoyu sauce (*GF: double check your sauce if you need GF)
2 TBSP canola oil
2 TBSP toasted sesame oil
2 TBSP peanut butter – creamy or crunchy, whatever you have on hand
1 TBSP brown rice vinegar
3-4 garlic cloves
1 TBSP minced ginger (fresh or the stuff in the jar)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or be bold like me and put in 1-2 bird’s eye peppers (seeds and everything – I used 2 small peppers and it resulted in a “medium” heat..and it didn’t linger. The PB helps mellow the heat…so don’t be afraid to try out a pepper or two)
1/2 tsp salt

1 pound penne, or other short noodle like rigatoni or fusilli (for GF use an appropriate noodle. I used a Brown Rice Penne)
8 oz green beans, or a mix of green and yellow – if you can find purple, even better – cut into 2-inch sections (for easy bites)
2 red,purple, orange, or yellow bell peppers, julienned – aside from tasting good, they provide color to the dish
3 scallions
1 cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise, seeded, and sliced into 1/4-inch thick half-moons
1/2 C roasted cashews, ideally unsalted, roughly chopped
*optional: fresh chopped cilantro


1. Bring a pot of water to boil for the noodles. If you’ve got a strainer or steamer basket that can fit on top of the pot, you can do the noodles and the green beans at the same time.
2. Meanwhile, place all sauce ingredients in a blender (or food processor) and puree until smooth; set aside. When water is boiling, add the noodles and cooking according to package directions (for my rice penne it took about 8 or 9 minutes). In a steamer basket, steam the beans lightly for no more than 5 minutes. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking of the beans – to keep them crunchy. When the noodles are done, rinse them under cold water as well.
3. Place the veg, nuts and noodles in a large bowl, top with sauce and stir to combine. Place in the fridge to chill out and marinade for about 30 minutes. If the pasta gets too dry whilst marinating, drizzle with a little more toasted sesame oil just to give the moisture content a little nudge. You can also reserve a small amount of the sauce for refreshing it just before serving.

Zeiglers Spicy Peanut Penne2Zeigler's Spicy Peanut Penne1**Feel free to add in any other veg of choice, like bean sprouts or julienned zucchini!

Zeiglers Spicy Peanut Penne3

Happy Cooking!


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