Archive for September, 2009

Ginger-Cilantro Quinoa

I went to a gathering of a handful of people last weekend at a neighbors house. Of course, I was going to be the only vegan in attendance…and I knew I’d need something to eat. What travels well, and is always a huge hit at parties? Jo’s Black Bean Quinoa Salad, naturally. So I did a tweak on it….added some ginger and white beans. It was simply delicious…and the vegan carrot cake that one of the guys was so kind to bring me was simply the best – thanks Jeff! Here’s a variation on the black bean quinoa salad from days of yore. Adding potatoes gives it a creamier consistency (not dip like, but not fluffy) – if that’s not what you’re going for..then use potatoes that have already been roasted and have a crispness to them, towards the end since they’d already be cooked.Ginger-Cilantro Quinoa1


1.5 C quinoa
2.5 C water/broth
1-2 med-lg golden potatoes, cubed
1 TBSP minced ginger
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 medium red bell peppers (or 1 large), diced
1 C frozen corn
1 bunch cilantro, minced
1 C black beans
1 C white/cannellini/northern beans
salt and pepper to taste


1. Warm oil over medium heat in large deep-sided skillet. Add onions, ginger, and potatoes. Saute until onion becomes translucent and potatoes are browning, about 10 minutes.
2. Add red bell pepper, corn, beans, and quinoa. Saute about 5 minutes to lightly toast the quinoa. Add broth/water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 12-15 minutes – until all liquid is absorbed.
3. Add cilantro, salt, and pepper. Fluff with a fork, transfer to a bowl and take to a party! This is delicious wrapped in corn tortillas, eaten with tortilla chips, or just plain with a fork…

Ginger-Cilantro Quinoa

**Additions: For extra spice, add in a jalapeno or other hot pepper of desire!

Happy Cooking!

(I swear I didn’t plan this)On This Day In History: Black Bean Quinoa Salad



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Let’s all give a big thank you to Christina for requesting a Potato Leek Soup recipe…I hope it’s to your satisfaction ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s a classic Autumn/Winter soup that is sure to comfort your soul as well as warm your belly! You could also make a combo of this soup and the Potato Butternut Squash soup… mmm…Potato-Leek-Butternut Squash soup… Ok, I got lost in the delicious imagery for a moment. This recipe makes about 4 servings, so if you’re cooking for more than yourself, you should double it because you’ll most certainly want leftovers – guaranteed!


2 TBSP canola or olive oil
2 medium leeks, rinsed and diced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 TBSP oregano
4 C diced gold potatoes (it was about 1 Farmer’s Market basket of potatoes for me, maybe 3-4 large or 12 small-medium golden potatoes)
4 C vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
fresh black pepper, to taste


1. Rinse and chop the leeks. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large stock pot. Add chopped leeks, minced ginger, and saute about 10 minutes – when the leeks begin to soften.
2. Add diced potatoes, oregano, and 1 tsp salt. Saute an additional 5-8 minutes.

Potato Leek Soup1

3. Add broth and bay leaf, bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer, and simmer for 25-30 minutes – until the potatoes are soft and done.
4. Remove bay leaf. Blend until smooth with immersion blender or food processor. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with homemade croutons and fresh black pepper. Enjoy!

Potato Leek Soup2

Happy Cooking!

On This Day In History: Oat Surprise Muffins



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Leeks: Step-by-Step

Who loves Potato-Leek Soup? Or sautรฉd leeks atop a salad? I know I do..but prepping a leek for the first time can seem a bit daunting. Not as daunting as, say, a yuca…but you may not even purchase it in the store out of fear of the unknown. So lets introduce ourselves to the leek! It serves the same role as an onion, but with such different flavors – you know, how a red onion doesn’t taste like a yellow onion..a leek doesn’t taste exactly like a yellow or white onion either. But it is onion-like, in fact..an onion family member. The edible portions of a leek is the white and light green stalk. The trouble with leeks is that they are so unbearable dirty on the inside. You must wash each layer, hence the daunting nature of their prep. Well, no more…here’s where you’ll see just how easy it is to prepare them – just in time for Autumn so you can start adding them to soups and veggie medleys!

Step 1: Chop off the top and bottom of the leek.

Leek Step 1

Step 2: Slice in half, lengthwise.

Leek Step 2

Step 3: Rinse, Rinse, Rinse! Obviously this works better with two hands, but one of my hands had to hold the camera ๐Ÿ˜‰ …I really should get an assistant, hmm… The key in this step is to get all the dirt from between each little layer, so you’ll have to work it… Yes, there is dirt in each layer, and it’s no fun eating dirt! So don’t rush through this step, be thorough!

Leek Step 3aLeek Step 3bLeek Step 3c

Step 4: Chop, mince, whatever the recipe calls for…

Leek Step 4

Enjoy in dishes like Potato-Leek Soup, Veggie Soup, Jo’s Scape Bake, or saute in place of (or in addition to) onions in just about any dish you like!


Happy Chopping (and Rinsing)!

On This Day In History: Tortilla de Harina (homemade flour tortillas)


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tomato soup1What does one feed to a incredulous omni or contravening family member? What does a vegan tell a skeptical omni is an acceptable dish they can make for you to eat at a gathering, without stressing the omni out with ‘special vegan ingredients’? What are some quick and simple ideas that could have even the most cynical guest asking for the recipe at the end of the meal?

From the omni perspective (because maybe there’s some omni’s out there reading this and have a vegan friend that they want to feed), what does one serve to satisfy the lone vegan at the table – that consists of more than a plate of leafy greens and some olive oil? What can an omni include in their diet to make themselves healthier without stressing over buying a whole slew of ‘strange and bizarre‘ items that they can’t find at the grocery store?

Ok, I think you get the idea of what I’ll be discussing in this post – quick and easy dishes, sure to please anyone regardless of their chosen dietary habits, which use only items that can be found at any grocery store!

baked rice casserole9Tex-Mex Rice4Green_Enchiladas2

Here’s a few items that have been field-tested at many joint omni/vegan tables ๐Ÿ˜‰

Dad-inspired Baked Rice Casserole, burrito style
Black Bean Burgers with a side of Spicy Potato Wedges – always a hit!
Black Bean Quinoa Saladquinoa is becoming more popular in your non-hippiemarts, but if you can’t find it, use brown rice
Broccoli Pasta with a side of Velvety Tomato Soup
Green Enchiladas with a side of Tex-Mex Rice
New Orleans Red Bean and Rice Soup with a glass of wine, because it’s SPICY

black bean burger and potato wedges

On the lighter side of things:
Spinach and Chickpea Dinner Salad with a fresh fruit sorbet or coconut milk ice cream for dessert
Wild Brown Rice Salad with a side of Hannah’s Potato Salad or Coconut Curry Chickpea Soup

Coconut Curried Chickpea Soup

When deciding what to make, think of things that an omni wouldn’t feel that is lacking or sub-par because it’s a vegan dish (think “no cheese in the enchiladas or on the pizza” – that freaks people sometimes because it’s not the norm). Try to think of things that are naturally vegan (and I don’tย  mean Oreo’s) – think rice and beans/veg (colorful veg), or pasta, or a vegetable soup. If the plate is colorful and appealing to the eye…nobody is going to notice that there isn’t any animal products. They’ll be excited to be eating something so aesthetically pleasing! ๐Ÿ˜€

Happy Eating!

On This Day In History: Oh my Darlin’ Clementine-n-Mango Juice


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What do you do with leftover wild rice? Eat it, clearly! Here’s a super delicious way to use up leftover rice – and it doesn’t even need to be wild rice, but sometimes you have excess from the Wild Brown Rice Salad…or you just happen to love wild rice like I love wild rice. I love a good burrito, but sometimes you feel guilty for over indulging in tortillas (it’s rare, but I’ve heard of it happening)…so why not have a lettuce wrap with all the burrito goodness that goes on the inside! This recipe will make about 3-4 lettuce wraps, depending on how full you fill them! And if you’re using leftovers, this dish can come together in about 5 minutes! Serve alongside a bowl of hearty soup, such as Velvety Tomato Soup or Curry Chickpea Soup.

Ingredients:lettuce wraps1

2-2.5 C cooked wild rice
3-4 large leaves of romaine or green leaf lettuce
1-1.5 C cooked white/cannellini/northern beans
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2-3 scallions/green onions, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
fresh cilantro, minced
fresh thyme
sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
*optional: fresh squeezed lime juice


1. Wash lettuce being careful not to tear the leaves. Prep the red bell, tomato, scallions, and herbs.

lettuce wrap2lettuce wrap3
2. Lay out one leaf of the lettuce and top with the cooked rice, cooked beans, and veg. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and fresh herbs. You can also opt to squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top. Salt and pepper to taste, enjoy!

lettuce wrap4

**Alternatively, if you have trouble with the whole lettuce wrap aspect, turn it into a Lettuce Wrap Salad! Just chop the lettuce, dice the red bell and top with the goods!

lettuce wrap bowl

Happy Cooking!

On This Day In History: Roasted Thyme Potatoes


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Hello Primate Readers! I realize this post isn’t exactly about veganism, or food for that matter. But a huge part of veganism is the compassion we feel towards animals, all animals – including humans. And one subpopulation of humans that I feel really need our compassion and help is at-risk teens and their families. If you’re in the Kansas City Metro area, consider participating and/or donating! And how about this for a deal, I’m going to be walking and for Primate readers, if you sign up to walk I’ll personally make and bring you a small batch of homemade cookies to take home after the walk!! But you have to let me know if you’ll be there in the comment section, so I know to bring you cookies ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Oh yeah, and leashed pooches are allowed! Let your furry companion show support for at-risk youth as well!

Announcing the 5th Annual Kids 4 Character 5K Run and Walk

The 5th Annual Kids 4 Character Run and Walk is happening on Saturday, October 10, 2009 from 7:30 -10:30 am at Corporate Woods, building 40, in Overland Park, Kansas.ย  There will be fun and excitement with food, refreshments, booths, prizes, medals, a raffle, a DJ and celebrity appearances, including 2009 Miss Kansas! The 5K welcomes participants at all levels and ages. There will also be a special Kiddie Dash, fun for kids under 10.

Proceeds go to Lifeskills Management Center to continue helping at-risk teens and their families. Lifeskills Management Center, (LMC,) is a non-profit agency which has served thousands of youth and families in Johnson County since its inception in 1982.

As part of its mission, LMC rejects no one for financial reasons.ย  Funds from the 5K run will help provide sliding-scale options. LMC challenges the community to take a step toward helping at-risk youth and families in Johnson County by registering for the Kids 4 Character 5K Run and Walk by mail at our LMC website or be green and register online.

A little bit about LMC projects: Two highly reputable programs are Crossroads and Project Sam. The Crossroads Treatment Program has worked in collaboration with the Johnson County Juvenile Detention Center since 1982 to provide the only family centered correctional treatment program for juvenile offenders.ย  When discussing the idea of hope in a group therapy session, one current Crossroads participant stated:
“For me, hope is that I will have a future.ย  Hope to me is that I wonโ€™t continue using, that I will learn to cope with life.ย  Hope is that my mom will be able to make it year to year without having to ask anyone for help. Hope for me is that me and my father can have a good relationship, where we can both respect each other. Hope for me is that I will learn from my past mistake. That I will never give up. I hope I am changing.”

If you’re not in the Kansas City area, but would like to donate to a worthy cause…here is a paypal donation link:


And remember, every little bit helps!

Happy Compassion for all Earthlings!


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Quick and Easy Pasta Chunky TomatoI love pasta, but as a veggie-lover it seems weird to just have noodles and sauce (whereas, in a previous/non-vegan life that’s exactly how I liked it). But now, the meal just doesn’t feel complete unless there’s a little onion or red bell pepper, perhaps broccoli and nuts. I don’t buy jarred pasta sauces that often, so I usually just make olive oil pastas – like you’ve typically seen here at the Primate. Sometimes, however, you just crave that thick red sauce that can be sopped up with some garlic bread…mmmm..mmm. So here’s a recipe for a simple chunky tomato sauce, that’s as quick as it is to boil the noodles! Promise! This recipe makes enough sauce for about 4 servings (1 typical package of pasta), plus a little more for those who like it ‘heavy on the sauce’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ And for the garlic lovers out there, you know who you are, there is a double-shot of garlic!


1 red onion, diced
1-2 red bell peppers, diced
3-6 cloves garlic, sliced (you can mince if you want, but I like a good slice from time to time)
1 jar strained tomatoes
1 TBSP dried basil, plus some fresh for garnish
1 TBSP + 1 tsp dried oregano
2-3 tsp garlic powder
1 TBSP salt, or to taste – plus more for salting the noodle water
fresh black pepper, to taste-
1 4-serving bag of noodles – spaghetti, fusilli, bowtie, rigatoni, any noodle that can hold up to a thick and hearty sauce; which means no angel hair or capellini..


1. Bring a pot of water to a boil – that will fit a bag of noodles. In a large deep-sided skillet, warm a little olive oil (maybe 1-2 TBSP) over medium heat. Meanwhile, dice the onion and red bell, and slice the garlic.
2. Add noodles and some salt to the water, and onion, red bell, and garlic to the skillet. Saute until onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in a bit of the salt and some pepper, toss in the herbs, and continue to cook another 1-2 minutes. Add the sauce to the skillet o’veg, and adjust the salt and pepper content to your liking. Warm and stir until noodles are ready. At this point, before draining the noodles check thickness of the sauce – if too thick for your liking, thin it out with a little of the pasta cooking water.
3. Plate out noodles, or toss them in the sauce, garnish with fresh basil or oregano, serve and enjoy!

Quick and Easy Pasta Chunky Tomato2**Note: There’s no actual chunks of tomatoes in this recipe, but feel free to add them if that tickles your fancy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Cooking!

On This Day In History: Jimmy’s Vanilla Cupcakes

mini spinkled cupcakes


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