Sunday, May 23, 2010

Modified "Easy Chickpea Curry"

When I lived in Japan, I had a Scottish neighbor who would often invite me to dinner.  She would make her signature dish - a type of Thai curry made with coconut milk.  It offers a "sweet and spicy" taste.  Well, I thought I could find a recipe on the internet that would offer this same type of idea.  I kept finding chicken and fish dishes only.  It was hard to substitute it with anything I had in stock (ideally tofu).  Instead, I found this other recipe.  It seemed perfect because I had every ingredient.  After starting it out, I came to realize that my potatoes were 'soft'.  According to Jon, I could probably still eat them.  The internet sources I read advised against it.  In the end, I decided to substitute in peas and spinach in place of the potatoes.  It honestly had a really good taste to it.  I think I overdid the spinach.  I used a whole frozen 10 oz. bag.  I could have probably gotten away with 7 oz.  I also served it over brown rice since I had about 3 cups cooked and ready to use (I made too much when I made my Bombay rice and peas).  I think the taste of the spices and curry would have been better brought out through jasmine rice or white rice.  Overall, it was good and I would definitely like to try it again.  I am going to supply my recipe below and link back to the original one that includes potatoes instead of my peas and spinach.

1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans,
4 oz frozen peas
7 oz frozen spinach
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 tomato, chopped
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 cubes vegetable bouillon

1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Cook and stir the onion and garlic in the melted butter for about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent. Sprinkle in curry powder, garam masala, paprika, sugar, ginger, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook and stir 3 to 4 more minutes, until spices are lightly toasted.
2. Mix in the garbanzo beans, peas, spinach, coconut milk, tomato, milk, ketchup, sour cream, and bouillon cubes. Simmer the curry over medium-low heat for about 25 minutes.
Original recipe here (from

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pesto Sauce

I never realized how easy pesto sauce is.  As a vegetarian my whole life, one dish I have grown to dislike is spaghetti.  Often times, a vegetarian is brought to a restaurant where the one and only dish you can have is...spaghetti.  Or a vegetarian goes to someone's house for dinner, that has never met a vegetarian before.  They have no idea what to serve you guessed it!  spaghetti.  Not to mention that my first few years in college was very vegetarian unfriendly and usually, my only option for years was spaghetti.

I avoid spaghetti like the plague.

But, pesto sauce makes it all better.  Pesto makes pasta seem exotic.  It gives a whole new meaning to a box of spaghetti noodles that cost only .88 cents.  Pesto + Pasta = perfection!  To my health and weight conscious followers - it's a little fattening.  It's "healthy fat" ingredients - olive oil and nuts.  But, fattening nonethless.


  • 1 and 1/2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  1.   Combine all ingredients except olive oil in blender or food processor
  2.  Process until finely chopped
  3. While still slowly chopping, slowly add the olive oil.  Continue processing until it's smooth
Serve over pasta!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rhubarb Bread

My boss has dozens and dozens of rhubarb growing out of her garden.  She didn't plant them, but rather they came with her house when she bought it.  To be honest, I have NEVER tried rhubarb in my entire life.  Isn't that slightly weird?  Her seven (eight?) year old son asked me if I liked it.  I told him that I never tried it.  We ran over to the family garden and he taught me how to choose a ripe rhubarb and how to pull it out.  He took a little nibble out of the one we pulled out.  I tried it, too.  He likes it, me...not so much.  However, my boss told me that it's great in recipes.  I took all of their ripe rhubarb and brought it home.  I got a recipe off of  It was meant to make two loaves.  I wanted to make one loaf for my sister who was having surgery and one loaf for Jon and I to try.  It's rather scary, but Jon and I both fell asleep with our second loaf in the oven.  I woke up at 2am gasping for breath and realizing that our second loaf was still in the oven.  Thank whatever god there is that our apartment did not burn down with us in it.  We never got to try a loaf before sending it to my sister and her husband.  However, the consensus between the two of them is that it's delicious.  The good news is Jon is babysitting my boss's three sons over the summer.  So, I'm sure there's plenty more rhubarb where the initial batch came from!

The recipe is here:


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. In a small bowl, stir together milk, lemon juice and vanilla; let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, oil and egg. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda, stir into sugar mixture alternately with the milk mixture just until combined. Fold in rhubarb and nuts. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.
  3. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. Sprinkle this mixture over the unbaked loaves.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a loaf comes out clean.
Recipe online here 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bombay Rice and Peas

This recipe caught my eye immediately when I saw it in my cookbook.  It offers three of my favorite food ingredients: plenty of spices, rice and peas.  One new spice I cooked with was ground cloves.  It definitely added a unique taste to the dish.  I was worried that there weren't enough spice quantities for the dish to taste amazing.  However, somehow, with less than entire tablespoon of mixed spices, it tasted very spicy.  If this dish looks interesting to you, you can find it in the Vegetarian Gourmet's Easy International Recipes book.  It's topped with fresh cilantro to give it an extra boost of flavor!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quick and Spicy Tomato Sauce for Pasta

My sister shared with me her recipe that she said was the best one she has made yet.  I was ecstatic when I heard of a new recipe I could try!  The recipe is actually meant to be meat included.  I made it minus the meat.  I also plan to provide you the recipe my style, but to link to the group that has the full recipe, meat included.

My sister claims this is the best meal she's ever had.  In my opinion, it was good, definitely better than normal spaghetti sauce you get out of the can.  I am a spice fanatic.  If the recipe calls for more than 4 spices, I'll probably be sure to love it.  

In my opinion, it was good - but it wasn't anything that I would brag about.  It wasn't nearly as spicy as I anticipated.  However, it wasn't a complete flop!




  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, liquid included
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced canned chipotle en adobo and sauce, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped oregano leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
plus pasta noodles (We used one lb. which was way too much)


Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil for pasta.  When boiled, put in one pound of noodles.

Make Sauce:

1.  In a 4-quart saucepan heat the oil over medium heat. 
2.  Saute the onions until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
3.  Add tomato paste, tomatoes, chipotles, oregano, rosemary, and salt. 
4.  Bring all the ingredients to a low boil, reduce heat and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until liquid has evaporated slightly. 
5.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
6.  Combine with pasta noodles when complete

Yield: 6 servings 
Recipe is courtesy of the food network.  To see it on their site with meatball instructions, please go here

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spicy Peanut Noodles

Do you have way too much peanut butter? We do because we keep getting it for free. I don't think we've paid for peanut butter in a year, but yet we still have about 100 oz left.

Tonight I made an excellent dish with ingredients we usually have. Spaghetti noodles, peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, scallions and brown sugar.

I present to you yummy yummy spicy peanut noodles with eggy!

We got this recipe from  Simple Vegetarian Pleasures book (see to the right).

I'm going to post this recipe because it brings the majority of my new viewers to my blog.  I want ya'all to stay around and enjoy other of my recipes.  So, here it is below...adapted from simple Vegetarian pleasures:


  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced gingerroot
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles
1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
2.  Meanwhile, whisk together peanut butter and soy sauce in a small saucepan.  Stir in all of the remaining ingredients except for the spaghetti noodles until smooth.  Put a low heat under the pot to keep the sauce warm.
3.  Cook spaghetti in boiling water until al dente.  Don't overcook it, it should be chewy.  Drain thoroughly and bring back to the pot.  Pour on the sauce and toss.  Serve in bowls.

Serves 3-4

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

Tonight's meal consists of one of mine and Jon's favorites that we started cooking last summer. It's perfect for days where it's sunny and you would want to be outside eating them. And it's easy to make.  To make it vegan, you just need an egg substitute.

As usual, it was absolutely delicious.
1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained
and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.
6. Place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.
The recipe came off of all here

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Bread

Happy Mother's Day to Mom & Gerda (Jon's mom). We spent all Saturday afternoon making some delicious bread for you!

Dhal Makhani

The word dhal or daal or dal is commonly seen in Indian cooking. It basically means lentils. Scholars would say that it's derived from a sanskrit word that means "to split". In any meaning, it's what gives the protein to many Indian vegetarian dishes.

For the first time, I made a simplistic version of it. The recipe called for yellow lentils. I substituted with yellow split peas. There were mixed reviews on the internet whether or not these two ingredients are that close. I had no choice, my car is broke down.

The staple ingredients for this dish aren't too far from most Indian food I make. Tomato puree, butter, and several spices to get a curry taste. What made this dish unique from most others was adding yogurt and the yellow split peas (should be lentils).

(above) the spices, yogurt, tomato puree, butter and water on a low and slow heat

(above) eggy mashing together the yellow split peas and kidney beans

(above) my free rice cooker from my Japanese intern

(above) Dhal Makhani served over rice with a dollop of yogurt on top