Fresh Pesto and Veggie Calzones

Growing up, my mom made really yummy calzones. They’re not what you’d typically think of as calzones you can get at a pizza shop which would typically be filled with meat, cheese, and tomato sauce. She made them with fresh veggies and pesto. These calzones aren’t going to win any beauty contests, but they are so delicious it doesn’t matter!

The original recipe isn’t vegan, so I decided to try veganizing it since I was missing these old favorites. The result was pretty close to the original and just as yummy. I’m glad to have this recipe back in rotation!

Ingredients:

1 cup vegan pesto
1 medium yellow onion
1 bell pepper – any color
2 small yellow squash and/or zucchini
1 large stalk of broccoli
1/2 cup Daiya Pepperjack shredded cheese
3 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder + 2 Tbsp warm water
2 Tbsp soy milk
salt
black pepper
olive oil
cornmeal
Pizza Dough

Directions:

  • If you’re making your own pizza dough, you’ll want to start it ahead of time so it has time to rise. I decided to use 2 Trader Joe’s pizza doughs because I didn’t have time to make my own dough over the weekend. Homemade dough is always yummiest however! You might want to make two batches of dough depending on how big the batch is. Make the same amount of dough as you would for 2 pizzas.
  • Make up a batch of The Post Punk Kitchen’s Vegan Pesto. The batch I made ended up yielding about 1 cup of pesto, which was the right amount for the calzone recipe. You can also use your own favorite pesto recipe.
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  • Chop the onion and pepper. Saute them in a little oil.
  • Chop the yellow squash, zucchini, and broccoli into small pieces (about 1/2 inch or so).
  • In a small bowl, whisk up the egg replacer powder and warm water. If you don’t have egg replacer on hand, I don’t think it’s a critical part of this recipe. It helps bind the filling together a little, but so does the flour, so if you can’t find Ener-G, don’t worry about it.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the pesto, onion, pepper, yellow squash or zucchini, broccoli, Daiya, flour, olive oil, egg replacer, and soy milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Prepare a couple baking pans by drizzling a little olive oil on the pan and sprinkling a light coating of cornmeal on top of the olive oil.
  • Pull off a piece of pizza dough – about 1/3 of a cup, but it doesn’t have to be precise. Stretch it out into a circle like you would a pizza crust.
  • Add some filling to the center of the dough, being careful not to overfill it. Fold the dough in half over the filling and seal down the edges with your fingers. Poke a few little holes in the top of the calzone to vent steam. You can brush a little soy milk on top of the calzone if you like, but it’s optional.
  • Continue making calzones until you’ve used up all of your dough or all of your filling.
  • Bake the calzones for 30-35 minutes until the filling in bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Let them cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

Vote for your Favorite Virtual Vegan Potluck Recipes!

If you haven’t voted for your favorite recipes in the Virtual Vegan Potluck, go vote now! You still have a few more days to get your votes in. Of course I would appreciate a vote for my Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with Fresh Berries, but you should pick your favorites! There are so many recipes that look delicious!

If you have the time, I recommend making your way through the whole potluck, because there are lots of great recipes. But if you’re short on time (there are a ton of recipes and it takes quite a while), I thought I’d share just a few of my favorites in each category, as other VVP bloggers have done. It’s really hard to narrow them down, but I thought it might help in your voting process if you don’t have time to go through all the recipes.

Appetizers:

Beverages:

Breads:

Salads:

Sides:

Soups:

Main Dishes:

Desserts: This was the biggest category and obviously the hardest to narrow down based on the number of links I’m sharing!

Hope you enjoyed the recipes, now go vote!

Virtual Vegan Potluck – Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with Fresh Berries

Welcome to the third Virtual Vegan Potluck! It’s been great to see this grow so much each time! In case you just happened upon my blog and don’t know what the Virtual Vegan Potluck is, it’s a blog circle of recipes by vegan and vegan friendly bloggers. You can start at the beginning by going to Vegan Bloggers Unite, or see the blogs before or after me in the potluck by following the Go Forward and Go Back links at the bottom of this post. I’m excited to be participating again, and I’ve brought one of my favorite dessert recipes to share!

This recipe originally came from Vegetarian Times many years ago, and I’ve made a few modifications to it over the years. This pie is pretty easy and quick to make, and it’s perfect for sharing! Who doesn’t love peanut butter, chocolate, and berries? I wish I could give each of you a slice in real life!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

I make the crust from scratch because many store bought graham cracker crusts aren’t vegan. Most graham crackers contain honey, but Nabisco Originals don’t. Making a graham cracker crust from scratch isn’t too hard and doesn’t take much time. I think they’re tastier than the store bought versions too! You can also use ginger snaps, vanilla or chocolate wafer cookies, or any other type of cookie or cracker that is dry and crumbly to make a crust. That’s one of the things I like so much about this pie, it’s easily customizable. In addition to changing the flavor of the crust you could substitute almond butter or cashew butter for the peanut butter, and you could top the pie with anything you like – nuts, vegan whipped cream, bananas, etc. Make it your own!

Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10-11 whole crackers)

1/4 cup sugar

dash of salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

5 Tbsp melted vegan butter (Earth Balance or organic Smart Balance)

Graham Cracker Crust Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Place the graham crackers in a ziploc bag and seal it shut. Use a rolling pin or a wooden spoon to crush the crackers into crumbs.
  • Pour the crumbs into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, salt, and cinnamon to the crumbs. Stir until combined.
  • Melt the vegan butter and drizzle it over the crumbs. Mix it with a fork until combined.
  • Pour the crumbs into a 9 inch pie plate. Press them into the bottom of the pie plate and up the edges. They should stick together. If any holes form, make sure you fill them in.
  • Bake the crust for about 10-15 minutes. If the sides of the crust slouch down after baking, gently use the back of a spoon to push the crust back up the sides of your pie plate. Let the crust cool fully before putting the filling in.

Ingredients for Pie Filling:

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 12-oz. container silken tofu
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • berries for the top

Directions for Pie Filling:

1. In a food processor or blender, combine the silken tofu and maple syrup and blend until smooth. Add the peanut butter and blend it again until it’s smooth.

2. Melt the chocolate chips, either using a double boiler or heating it in 30 second intervals in the microwave until melted. Stir the chocolate frequently as it melts. Add the melted chocolate to the food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Pour the filling into your cooled graham cracker crust. Smooth the top out and refrigerate the pie at least 20 minutes to firm up.

4. Place the berries on top (or use your topping of choice). You can use fresh berries when in season or thawed frozen berries other times of the year. Keep the pie refrigerated. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out the rest of the potluck by following these links! The blog before me is Mama et de Bebe Hawk and the blog after me is Deerly Beloved Bakery. You can also start at the beginning by visiting Vegan Bloggers Unite!

go_bck-300x257 go_forward-300x243

Liebster Blog and Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Awards

Lidia from Vegan Bloggers Unite and Air Eater has nominated me for a Liebster Award! And Poppy from Poppy’s Patisserie|Bunny Kitchen nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! Thanks Lidia and Poppy! You should check out both of their blogs if you haven’t already! Vegan Bloggers Unite features guest posts from all kinds of vegan bloggers and contains a blogroll that’s a great way to browse around and find new blogs and recipes. Lidia’s other blog, Air Eater, features vegan and gluten free recipes. Poppy’s blog, Poppy’s Patisserie|Bunny Kitchen features some really yummy looking vegan recipes. Check them out!

Since I was nominated for two blog awards and the Liebster once before as well, I’m going to bend the rules a bit. A lot of the blogs I follow I have either already nominated for the Liebster last time or Lidia nominated, so rather than nominate another 23 blogs or repeat nominations, I’ll just nominate a few more for each. Here are the rules for how the Liebster Blog Award works.

The Rules:
• Post 11 random facts about yourself.
• Answer the 11 questions made by the person who nominated you.
• Create 11 questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
• Choose 11 bloggers to pass the award to and mention them in your post.
• Go to their blogs and let them know that they have been nominated
• No tag backs.

11 Random Facts about me:

  1. I have no middle name.
  2. I hate mushrooms, which is weird for a vegan I think. Lots of vegan food contains mushrooms, but I can’t stand them. I keep trying them every now and then to see if I will grow to like them, but the texture is awful and they don’t seem like food.
  3. I used to not like olives, artichokes, and eggplant, but now I do like them. This is why I keep trying mushrooms.
  4. I like to travel, and I would really like to go to Iceland someday (among many places).
  5. I really want to take a couple months and drive across the US stopping at interesting places along the way.
  6. Someday I would like to write and direct my own feature length film. I have already started on a couple different scripts, but they’re only partially written.
  7. I am a big fan of This American Life and Radiolab.
  8. I have had a lot of pets since I was a child… a parakeet, 2 hamsters, 2 gerbils, a guinea pig, 2 cockatiels, 5 cats, and a handful of fish.
  9. I enjoy working with my hands and have been pushing myself to learn more DIY skills over the last few months.
  10. I have a cat that likes to eat everything…shoe laces, towels, plastic bags, wooden doors, curtains, blankets, cat beds…so I have to pretty much baby proof everything for him.
  11. My favorite flowers are daffodils followed closely by ranunculus.

Lidia’s Question

1. What was the first dish you ever prepared by yourself?

I can’t remember. I’ve been cooking and baking with my parents for as long as I can remember, so the first thing I prepared entirely by myself was probably when I was a young teenager. Most likely it was a cake or cookies or something like that.

2. How adventurous are you in your cooking/baking?

I like to try using new ingredients and recipes from various cultures and regions. I will pretty much try any food as long as it’s vegan. With that said, I do tend to get in ruts and make the same dishes for dinner, but I like to mix it up and find new recipes and ingredients to try when I get bored of the same meals. I also like to make modifications to recipes and rarely follow them exactly as written.

3. What gave you the inspiration to write your blog?

My first inspiration to create The Vegan Kat was the question I would often get, “What do vegans eat?” This was always a hard question to answer because vegans eat a lot of different things. I thought it would be a good idea to start compiling and sharing some recipes so that I had something to point to when asked this question. Also, the blog is helpful as a way to keep track of my favorite recipes, some of which only existed in my head or were scattered about in different places. The blog is an easy way to reference back to recipes and always have them on hand and ready to share with others. Also, I wanted it to be accessible to people who aren’t vegan, but might want to try out a vegan meal or who needed ideas to cook for a vegan friend or relative.

4. What’s your favourite movie?

My career is as a producer and I went to school for TV & Film, so picking a favorite movie is a bit of a challenge for me! I have a lot of favorites so I’ll just list out a few – Amelie, Easy Rider, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Moulin Rouge, Pariah, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I’m sure I’m missing a few. I tend to like movies that are realistic with a fantastical element.

5. What book can you not live without?

This is a tough one. My favorite books are A Handmaid’s Tale and the collective works of Kurt Vonnegut. I love to read and have loved many other books, but Margaret Atwood and Kurt Vonnegut always stand out to me. And of course, my Dad is also an author (www.murdomorrison.com). He has written a few books now and is working on another!

6. What’s the best concert you’ve ever seen?

Another tough question! Again I don’t think I can come up with just one answer. Some of my favorites that I’ve seen perform live are Ben Sollee, Erin McKeown, Weezer, Kaki King, Jess Klein, and Jose Gonzalez.

7. How many times have you moved in your life?

I think 7 times, unless I’m missing one.

8. Who inspires you?

So many people inspire me. I would say my first inspiration is my family. Everyone in my immediate family is very talented and creative in their own ways, and being the youngest of the family I always looked up to them and learned a lot from them. In the broader world, I am inspired by Ira Glass for his storytelling on This American Life, Jad Abumrad for his storytelling and editing on Radiolab, all of the musicians I listed in answer #6, Baz Luhrmann, Dee Rees, Margaret Atwood, Kurt Vonnegut, many of the people I have interviewed for segments over the years, Edie Windsor, the Gee’s Bend quilters, Gwen Marston, Vincent Van Gogh… this list could really go on forever.

9. What’s been the best dish you’ve ever made?

It’s too hard to pick just one, so here are a few of my favorite recipes from The Vegan Kat.

Cinnamon Buns from Vegan Yum Yum

Cardamom Cookies

Griddle Scones

Potato Latkes

Stuffing

Pumpkin Bread with Oatmeal Crumble Topping

10. Do you have any fur babies?

We have three cats, Tucker, Zoey, and Juniper.

11. What are your blog goals?

My blog goals are to continue to post new recipes, try new ingredients and new foods, post more about my art, and just continue to grow and hopefully provide recipes that people are interested in trying out.

My questions for the nominees:

  1. What’s your favorite book that you think everyone should read?
  2. What movie or TV series would you recommend watching?
  3. What’s one of your favorite recipes?
  4. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  5. If you enjoy traveling, where is your dream destination and why?
  6. Where’s your favorite place that you have travelled even if it’s somewhere close to home?
  7. What are some of your hobbies beyond your blog?
  8. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you become that?
  9. Stealing one from Lidia… who inspires you?
  10. Name one thing on your bucket list.
  11. Who is your favorite musician or band?

My nominations for the Liebster Blog Award:

And now, the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award:

sisterhood-of-world-blogger-award

The rules for Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award are:

1   Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2   Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and a link back.
3   Answer 10 questions given.
4   Nominate up to 12 bloggers for Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
5   Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.

10 Questions:
What is your favorite color?   — Blue, Green, Purple… I kind of love all colors.
Your favorite animal?   —  Cats, elephants
Your favorite non-alcoholic drinks?  — Peet’s Pumphrey’s Blend Tea, soy lattes, apple cider
Facebook or Twitter?   —  Facebook
Your favorite pattern?   —  plaid, stripes, polka dots
Do you prefer getting or giving presents?  — Giving, especially homemade ones
Your favorite number?    — I don’t really have one
Your favorite day of the week?    — Saturday
Your favorite flower?    — Daffodils and Ranunculus
What is your passion?   —  filmmaking, photography, quilting, cooking, working with my hands, creativity

My nominations for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

 

 

Post Punk Kitchen Recipes – Summer Seitan Saute With Cilantro & Lime, Tofu Omelets

I recently tried a couple of really yummy recipes from Post Punk Kitchen, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s website, that I wanted to share. The first is called Summer Seitan Saute With Cilantro & Lime. I make stir fries with seitan pretty often for dinner and was looking for a way to change it up a bit. This was perfect! Most of my stir  fries are Asian inspired…soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, etc. But this one is more Mexican, almost like a deconstructed burrito. Very yummy! You can find the recipe here.

LimePepperOnion

I stuck to the recipe pretty closely, but instead of jalapenos, I used a sweet bell pepper. I don’t like food to be too spicy, but I might try it with the jalapenos sometime, since they’re usually milder than other peppers, especially without the seeds. I also left out the mushrooms, as I seem to be the only vegan who hates mushrooms! Next time I will also increase the quantity of cilantro, because I just really like cilantro.

StirfryCooking

This recipe is definitely worth a try, and we’ll be adding it to our usual dinner rotation. Play with the flavors to make it your own!

LimeSeitan

The other recipe that I tried from Post Punk Kitchen was Tofu Omelets. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture, because we ate them up too quickly! She’s got a great photo on her website though. They were really yummy and pretty simple to make. Again, I pretty much stuck to the recipe with the exception of black salt. I couldn’t find it at the store, but I will keep my eye out for it to use in the next batch. I was surprised by how much these looked like actual omelets. The taste and texture weren’t quite the same as eggs, but pretty close. They were really yummy as their own thing.

Has anyone else tried some recipes recently that they really enjoyed? I’m always on the lookout for new dinner ideas to keep things interesting!

Chopped Cabbage and Miso Salad with Marinated Tofu

My sister made this salad for me a while ago, and it’s really yummy. The recipe comes from 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson. This is a really yummy but still pretty light and healthy meal. The crispy shallots alone are amazing, but with the crunchy cabbage, chives, toasted almonds, and miso dressing, it’s really a perfect flavor combination. My sister makes marinated tofu to go with the salad that adds some protein and goes well with the crunchiness of the cabbage.

I didn’t change anything about Heidi’s recipe other than using a combination of red and green cabbage and a larger quantity of cabbage. You can find the recipe for the salad here, and I’ll include the recipe for the marinated tofu I put on top of the salad. Heidi Swanson has a Recipe Journal which some great recipes on it, so browse around her blog while you’re there!

And, to follow up on my New Year’s Resolution, the new (to me) ingredients in the salad are …miso and powdered mustard! I’ve of course eaten miso many times before in miso soup, but for some reason I’ve never cooked with it. Now I have a whole tub, so if you have any other yummy miso recipes, please share them in the comments!

Marinated Tofu Ingredients:

1 block of firm or extra firm tofu
1 – 2 shallots
3 – 4 cloves of garlic
small knob of ginger
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
black pepper
sesame oil

Marinated Tofu Directions:

  • Drain the tofu and press the water out with a paper towel. Slice your tofu into 1/4 inch thick slabs. Spread the tofu out in a baking dish to marinate.
  • Thinly slice the shallots, press or mince the garlic, and grate the ginger. In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, shallots, garlic, and ginger. Whisk together.
  • Pour the marinade over the tofu so it’s evenly coated. Sprinkle some black pepper on top of the tofu. Allow the tofu to marinade for an hour or two (or longer).
  • A lot of the liquid will probably be soaked up into the tofu, but drain off some of the excess liquid. Reserve the shallots, ginger, and garlic by straining the liquid. Pan fry the tofu, shallots, ginger, and garlic in a little sesame oil until the edges are golden and crispy.
  • Top the Cabbage and Miso Salad with the marinated tofu and enjoy!

BBQ Seitan and Broccoli

I recently made a really yummy recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen called Seitan & Broccoli with Pantry BBQ Sauce. There are tons of recipes on Post Punk Kitchen and you can easily search by recipe type or ingredients to find what you’re looking for. It’s the site of cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and it’s definitely worth a look.

I mostly stuck to the recipe on this one, but I did change a few small things. In the BBQ sauce I did not use Sriracha hot sauce. I don’t really use hot sauce so I didn’t want to buy it just for this recipe. I also added shallots to the seitan and broccoli because I tend to put shallots in everything. Next time I make this, I will probably tone down the sweetness a bit and use slightly less vegetable broth. It was really good the way the recipe is written, but I think a slightly less sweet, thicker sauce would be perfect.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
1-2 shallots
salt and pepper to taste
1 package of seitan (about 1 lb)
3-4 cups broccoli florets

BBQ Sauce:
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 tsp Sriracha (optional)

Directions:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine all of the BBQ sauce ingredients and whisk until smooth. Taste the sauce to see if you need to add anything.
  • Chop the onions and shallots and press or mince the garlic.
  • In a large skillet or pan, sauté the onions, garlic, shallots, and sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Once the onions are lightly browned, add in the seitan and sauté until browned.
  • Add the broccoli florets to the pan and cover it with a lid for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the broccoli is tender, add the BBQ sauce and stir to coat everything.
  • I served the BBQ seitan and broccoli with a side of homemade cornbread. You could also serve it over rice or another grain.

Virtual Vegan Potluck! Curry Noodles with Broccoli and Tofu

Welcome to the second Virtual Vegan Potluck! If you just happened to come to my site and don’t already know about the Virtual Vegan Potluck, here’s how it works. Since we can’t all get together for a real vegan potluck (participating bloggers are from all over the world!), Annie from the blog An Unrefined Vegan came up with the idea to have one virtually. This means that a lot of different blogs post vegan recipes on the same day for a variety of courses…appetizers, salads, main dishes, soups, desserts, etc.

You can work your way through the whole potluck by starting at Vegan Bloggers Unite! and following the links. The blog before mine in the potluck is 40 Fit In The Mitt. The blog after mine in the potluck is VegHotPot.

My plans for the potluck were a bit thrown off by Hurricane Sandy. I signed up to make an appetizer, but I wasn’t able to make the recipe I wanted to this past weekend because Hurricane Sandy kept me from the grocery store. I didn’t have the ingredients I needed, so instead, I’m sharing a different recipe, which is also quite tasty. It could still fall under the appetizer category, or it could be a side or a main dish too. It’s got a yummy flavor combo, and it’s quick to make.

This recipe originally came from Vegetarian Times in the April/May 2011 edition. I changed a couple small things, but it’s mostly the same as the Vegetarian Times Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 large shallots
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 of a yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (save 1/4 cup for garnish)
  • 2 Tablespoons Thai  red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 15-ounce can light coconut milk
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 12-ounce package of firm tofu
  • 1 package of Asian noodles (I used flat Somen noodles)
  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 lime

Directions:

  • Chop the onion and shallots, and press or mince the garlic. Roughly chop the cilantro. It’s okay to leave some of the upper stems in with the leaves when you chop it. Set aside 1/4 cup of the cilantro for garnish.
  • Heat the oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots, garlic, and onions in the oil for a couple minutes. Add 1/4 cup of cilantro, curry paste, curry powder, and turmeric. Stir and let cook for a minute. (I was worried it would be too spicy with the Thai red curry paste, but it turned out not to be spicy at all. I think this probably varies by brand, but I would consider increasing the amount of curry paste next time I make this.)
  • Add in the coconut milk, broth, and brown sugar. Stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Drain the tofu and cut it into 1 inch cubes. If you want it to be a little crispy on the edges, you can saute it in a little oil in a separate pan before adding it to the pot. Add the tofu to the pot with the other ingredients, and simmer another 10 minutes.
  • In a separate pot, cook the noodles according to the directions on the package. You could also substitute rice instead of noodles, if you prefer. Add the broccoli florets to pot of noodles for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain the noodles and broccoli and add them to tofu-curry mixture. Mix well, so the noodles and broccoli are coated.
  • Serve the curry noodles with the chopped cilantro sprinkled on top and a lime wedge on the side. Don’t skip the lime! Squeezing the lime juice over the noodles really completes the flavor of this dish.

You can work your way through the whole potluck by starting at Vegan Bloggers Unite! and following the links. The blog before mine in the potluck is 40 Fit In The Mitt. The blog after mine in the potluck is VegHotPot.

Thoor Dahl with Tomato and Onion

While I was in California visiting my sister in May, she made us a lot of Indian food. She recently went on a trip through India, and was inspired by some of the dishes she had while she was there. This one is called Thoor Dahl with Tomato and Onion.

She served the dahl with idlis, which I’d never had before. They’re hard to describe, but they’re made of lentils and rice that forms a batter. It becomes a little bun or cake once it’s steamed. You can make them from scratch, but they have to ferment overnight. My sister used a mix, which you can probably find at an Indian grocery store if you have one near you, along with thoor dahl and curry leaves.

The dahl recipe that I’m posting here is served on top of the idlis. The recipe comes from the cookbook Savoring the Spice Coast by Maya Kaimal. You can also check out some of my sister’s beautiful photos from her trip on her travelogue, with more photos to come soon!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup thoor dhal or yellow split peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 2 fresh green chilies (serrano or Thai), split lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 to 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 10 to 12 fresh curry leaves

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, wash the dhal in several changes of water, drain. Place the dhal, turmeric, and 2-1/2 cups water in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cool, partially covered, for 30 minutes (45 minutes for yellow split peas), or until the water has been absorbed and the peas break up under pressure from the back of a spoon. Check to make sure it doesn’t boil over.
  2. When the peas are soft, stir in the onion, green chilies, garlic, and ginger and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the tomato and salt and cook another 5 to 10 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked but not falling apart. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a small frying pan heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds and cover. When the seeds have popped, toss in the dried red chilies and curry leaves. After the leaves crackle for a few seconds, pour the contents into the dhal and stir to combine. The mixture should be the texture of thick pea soup. Taste for salt.

Roasted Red Peppers

There were so many awesome recipes shared during the Virtual Vegan Potluck that it was hard to figure out which ones to try first. This recipe was shared on the blog Bringing Europe Home. I’ve always loved roasted peppers, but had never tried making them myself, so this was good motivation to try it out. It was a pretty easy process and the peppers were really yummy!

Check out the original recipe on Bringing Europe Home. She goes through several methods on how to make these, but I’ll tell you the way I ended up making them.

Ingredients

3 bell peppers (I used red and yellow)
About 10 whole cloves of garlic
Fresh Basil
Fresh Parsley
Dried Italian herbs
3 Tbsp Good Quality Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Baguette

Directions

  • Drizzle some olive oil on a baking pan. Place the three whole bell peppers in the pan along with about 10 whole peeled cloves of garlic. Set your oven to broil, and put the peppers on the top rack of the oven.
  • Check the peppers regularly. They’ll need a few minutes per side. The skin will start to char and turn black. Rotate the peppers as they broil so that each side gets charred and black. Take the peppers out of the oven and let them cool down a bit while you prep the other ingredients.
  • Chop the basil and parsley and place in a medium sized bowl. You can use as much or as little as you want, but I liked having a lot of parsley and basil. Add about 3 Tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and dried Italian herbs in the bowl.
  • Once the peppers are cool enough to touch, peel off the charred skin. I just used my fingers to peel it off, but there are some other tricks on the Bringing Europe Home recipe if you want to try them out.
  • Pull out the stem and center of the peppers and remove any seeds. Slice the roasted peppers into strips. Add the pepper strips and whole roasted garlic to the bowl of herbs and olive oil and toss so the peppers get coated.
  • Eat the peppers as they are or slice a baguette and spread the peppers on top. This makes for a really pretty and yummy appetizer!