Archives For author

My mom used to make this bbq sauce every summer, we used it on everything, including baked potatoes. It’s vegan, although back in the 50’s no one had ever heard that word. I checked online to see if there was something similar to this original Gourmet recipe, but there was nothing even close. Everyone who tastes it wants the recipe!

The ingredient list is long, but it makes a lot of sauce which seems to keep forever in the fridge. I make bbq tempeh pretty often, cut a block of tempeh into thirds, filet each chunk into thirds (9 thin pieces), dip each piece into sauce, lay onto parchment on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until tempeh looks dry and lightly colored. Top it up when serving with more sauce! Makes great TLT’s or just serve with rice and a salad.

Hot Barbecue Sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 C finely chopped onion
2 1/2 C chili sauce or ketchup
1 t red pepper flakes
3/4 C olive oil
1/3 C lemon juice
1 T brown sugar
2 T cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
2 t Tabasco sauce
1 t salt
1 t dry mustard
1/3 C water

Pulse the onions and garlic in your food processor, or chop fine. Combine with remaining ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer 20 minutes. That’s it!


peas in a bowl

I’ve always loved peapods, this recipe works fine with the flat kind, but is even crunchier with snap peas. The season is short, on the east coast they disappear after a couple of months, after that, I buy the regular peapods. My daughter loved this dish and asked for it frequently, now she could try it with Asian tofu or some fried tempeh!

peas in a panpeas on a plate

Shrimp and Snap Pea Pasta
serves 2

1/2 lb. cooked medium shrimp
1/2 lb. snap peas
5-10 cloves garlic
1/2 lb. linguine or spaghetti
1/4 C olive oil
salt & pepper
parmesan cheese, optional

Trim snap peas, removing any tough strings, and cut in half on the diagonal.

Rinse shrimp, dry on paper towels.

Chop garlic, 5 cloves will produce a lightly flavored pasta, add more if you like!

lots of garlicdon't push on the pasta

Measure out the olive oil.

Boil sufficient water for the pasta, adding a teaspoon of salt. Add the 1/2 lb pasta, time according to package directions. When there’s 5 minutes of cooking time left, heat a large saute pan. Add the oil, then the garlic, saute a minute or less, add pea pods and shrimp. Saute a minute, turn off the heat – you just want to heat the shrimp and peas, not cook them. Drain pasta and add to the saute pan, sprinkle on salt and pepper, stir around a bit, and serve.

I like some parmesan grated over the top.

cast of characters

I visited Philadelphia this past weekend, to see “The Largest Flower Show in the World.” Some Philadelphians mentioned it as the largest in the U.S. At any rate, it was big, and it afforded my cousin and me some time to test the cuisine in the area. The first night we ventured into a blustery, cold wind to find dinner, looked at several menus, and settled on an Italian restaurant with a large selection. We split a caesar salad, the romaine cut in ribbons like pasta, with a lovely dressing, no anchovies – my decision. I chose the sauteed chicken breast and grilled eggplant, sliced thin, which adhered to the meat with a little smoked mozzarella, a nice reduction over all. Between these courses, I ate a cup of onion soup, with no beef or chicken stock, that was rich and complex. The waitress told us the chef used tomato to thicken the broth, which led me to researching vegan onion soup recipes when I came home.

ALL the onions

At Amber Waves today, I was restocking onions in the produce section and noticed several had mold on the skins. I removed 12 of them, and thought “OK, now’s the time to make the soup.” This recipe is a compilation of the those I saw online, plus the tomato. No one had tomato in their recipe.

toasty soup

Vegan French Onion Soup

12 or so medium onions, thinly sliced
3 T olive oil
salt and pepper

1/4 C red wine
1-2 T balsamic vinegar**

1 t dijon mustard
2 t tomato paste

8 C vegetable stock (see below)
1 small bay leaf
sprinkle of dried thyme
french and italian bread for croutons, plus cheese

For the stock:
top 3″ of a bunch of celery
1 onion, cut in large chunks
1 large carrot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
8 C water
salt to taste

Put veggies into water, bring to a boil, simmer 20 minutes, turn off and let sit while you slice onions.


Pour olive oil into a large soup pot, add onions, salt and pepper, and saute on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are reduced in volume and barely cover the bottom of the pan. Add the red wine and balsamic vinegar, stir, and continue to cook until the liquids boil off. Turn the heat down, get a magazine or a good book, and cook the onions further, timing stirrings at 5 minute intervals, for about 30 minutes, until the onions are brown and sticky. Stir in the mustard and the tomato paste. (This is where I forgot to take a picture.)

Taste the stock and add salt until it tastes good. Strain the stock and add to the onions, scraping up the bottom and sides of the pot, toss in the herbs, and taste for salt and pepper. Cook gently for another 20 minutes.

Serve with toasted croutons topped with cheese of your choice, run briefly under the broiler or in a hot oven to melt. The French have nice ovenproof soup bowls for this purpose, or you can just put the bread on a cookie sheet, toast it briefly, top with Daiya or Gruyere or mozzarella, and pop back in the oven till it melts. Then put it into your soup!

I made this soup during a nor’easter, there’s lots of prep and time watching the onions caramelize. If you’re in a hurry, choose another recipe.

Bon appetit!

** One tablespoon of really thick, syrupy balsamic vinegar will suffice in this recipe. If you have the regular grocery store variety, use 2 T.

Susan, the newer employee at Amber Waves, shared this recipe with me. It’s chewy, slightly sweet, practically fat free, and as Sue promised, absolutely delicious.


Old-Fashioned Date Nut Bread

1 C cut-up dates (I use Medjool, that’s what we sell, and they make a world of difference. One 1/2 lb. pkg is all you need, with a few left over!)
1 t baking soda
1 C hot water (I boil it)

1 egg (use a flax or chia egg if you’re vegan)
2/3 C sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
1 T melted butter or oil
1 3/4 C flour (I used organic white to stay traditional, but I’m going for half whole wheat next time)
1/2 C chopped walnuts

Set oven to 350 degrees.

Place chopped dates in a bowl, sprinkle baking soda over, add hot water, stir a little, and let sit while you gather the rest of the ingredients.

Beat egg and sugar, butter, vanilla and salt. Add flour alternately with date mixture, adding nuts in last flour addition. I do this in two steps, flour-date, flour-nuts-date.

Bake in an oiled loaf pan 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then cool to room temperature on a rack – makes slicing easier.

Great with cream cheese, but wonderful just toasted a bit all by itself.

(Teacups are from Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly, London, where I vacationed with my cousin Beth in September. I didn’t buy any.)teacups for fun

Many, many people have asked me for this recipe. We used to make it for our deli at Amber Waves, and when we stopped, addicts forced me to give it out. It comes originally from the Mori-nu tofu company, I changed it a tiny bit, subbing red onion for scallions. I’ll include a substitution for the hard to find Simply Organic onion soup mix as well.

Spinach Dip

1 10 oz. package Mori-nu silken tofu, or other silken tofu
1 10 oz. pkg frozen, thawed, organic spinach
2-3 cloves garlic
1 pkg. Simply Organic onion soup/dip mix
1/2 C Veganaise
1/4 C chopped red onion
1 8 oz. can waterchestnuts, drained, rinsed and diced

Peel the garlic and put the cloves in your food processor. Pulse until tiny bits cover the sides of the bowl.

Squeeze thawed spinach over the sink with all your might, you want it pretty dry. It takes me three handfuls to accomplish this.

Add squeezed spinach, Veganaise, onion soup mix and tofu to processor, buzz till smooth.

Remove dip from processor and put it in a mixing bowl. Coarsely chop the waterchestnuts, finely dice the onion, and mix in by hand. Yeah, you can throw them in the processor, but the texture comes out too fine to notice there’s anything different in there. You want a nice crunch.

Serve with chips, or spread on sandwiches. Because this is tofu based, this
dip will not freeze. Keeps well in the fridge – about a week!

Substitution for onion soup mix:

2 T dried onion flakes
1 T tamari soy sauce
1 vegetable bouillon cube (one that makes 1 C, I have to cut mine in half as they make 2 cups)
1 T boiling water

Dissolve bouillon in hot water, add to tofu mix along with the onion flakes and tamari. Onion flakes take longer to hydrate in the dip than the soup mix, so plan to let the dip sit for an hour before serving.

A word to the wise–DON’T use Knorr onion soup mix. It’s just plain terrible. I know.

The last produce order at Amber Waves contained a case of fairly ripe avocados, and they’re not selling very well. I brought home two, and when I unloaded my bag in the kitchen, I saw that Jim had brought one home too! We’re already sick of guacamole, avocados with chili powder and lime and a little salt (my daughter’s trick), avocado slices squishing out of sandwiches, avocados stuffed with tuna or egg salad, etc.

So I went online to find the avocado chocolate mousse recipe I’d heard customers raving about, and with a little tweaking created
a cool summertime treat that has lots of great avocado omegas and chocolate flavonoids, doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and takes one bowl of the food processor to make!

Avocado Chocolate Mousse
makes 6 1-cup servings

3 ripe avocados, peeled and cut in large chunks
1 C dutch cocoa (use what you have, as I did)
1 1/4 C agave syrup
2 t vanilla
dash of salt

Toss the chunks of avocado in the processor, pulse a few times, and scrape down the sides. Process again until avocado is smooth.

Add cocoa, agave, vanilla, and salt. Pulse, scrape, and process till smooth and creamy. Spoon into dessert dishes, lick the spoon, and chill the mousse.

Serve with berries or whipped cream or chopped nuts or nothing at all!

Straight from the fridge, this mousse is very thick and rich. Letting it temper for 10 – 15 minutes would improve its pudding-like quality. One of the recipes I reviewed mentioned this makes a great frosting, I can imagine it on a chilled cake!

I was looking through my trade magazines last Saturday, checking out the new products and reading vitamin articles when I spied this recipe. Although it’s actually a beef noodle soup, I thought maybe I could try it with seitan (wheat meat). So Sunday morning I got up and made the broth, sauteed a few aromatics, added the seitan, and brought the rest of the ingredients to my cousin’s house to finish it.

The soup was a total success, even my cousin’s brother ate some, saying the noodles reminded him of Korean fare. His regular diet consists of burgers, chips, coffee and fig newtons, so he surprised me by saying he was craving something with complexity. If you eat beef, I bet this would have even more depth, although it is very good vegan fare as well!

Niu Rou Mian (Spicy Chinese Seitan or Beef Noodle Soup)

2 oz soy sauce
1T + 1 t hoisin sauce
1 star anise or 1/2 t whole anise seed
1/3 stick cinnamon
zest of 1 small orange, peeled in thin strips
4 C water

1/2 T vegetable oil
1 bunch scallions, chopped, 1/2 for soup, 1/2 for garnish
1 T ginger, minced
5-6 large cloves garlic, minced
1 t red pepper flakes, or less if you want less heat
1 lb cubed seitan or beef stew meat
2 carrots, sliced
2 small zucchini, sliced

2 oz bean thread (cellophane) noodle
1/2 lb baby spinach leaves
2 t toasted sesame oil
1 lime, in wedges

In a large pot combine ingredients from the first group, bring to a boil, lower heat and gently simmer 20 min. Strain.

In a large saute pan or soup pot heat the oil, add the scallions, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes, stir briefly, add 2 cups of the stock and bring to a boil. Add seitan or beef, simmering for 20 minutes for seitan, 1 1/2 – 2 hours for the beef. (If you’re using seitan, add the carrots at this point as well. If you’re using beef, add the carrots for the last 20 minutes.)

I discovered the seitan absorbs an astonishing amount of stock, and added water, 1 – 1 1/2 C. It didn’t seem to affect the flavor much, at the end I added a bit more soy sauce.

When the soup is almost done, add the zucchini and simmer 5 minutes. Put the bean thread noodles in a saucepan of cold water and bring to a boil. Cut the noodles with scissors in several places when they are soft, it makes it much easier to get the soup into the serving bowls. Drain the noodles, add them with the remaining stock and spinach to the soup. Stir briefly until spinach is wilted, ladle soup into bowls, top with remaining scallions and a little sesame oil. Serve with a lime wedge.

I grew up in a family of the culinary curious. My dad made friends with everyone, from everywhere. I thought I knew pretty much all there was to know about Indian cuisine, now I’m not so sure. I’ve made dal and pilafs, puris and pakorhas, curries, masalas and kormas, naan, parathas, chapatis, chutneys, and I’ve even made my own panir cheese. Then my daughter sent me this bag of deep fried puffed rice, noodles and crackers along with some chutneys and a recipe for bhel puri. Now I suspect I’ve just scraped the surface of a complex cuisine with regional dishes I’d never imagined existed.

For you Cape Cod folk, getting the essential puffed rice for this recipe will require going off Cape. I can’t find it from any of my distributors. Watertown seems like a good bet, if you happen to be passing through. You might also pick up the tamarind and coriander chutneys, not to be found in my catalogs. If you do find it, you’ll be rewarded with a taste experience unlike anything you’ve ever eaten: sweet, tart, crunchy, and addictive. And one bag of bhel and one jar each of the chutneys makes 3 full recipes!

This is the exact recipe my daughter sent.

Bhel Puri
serves 4

2 C cubed peeled baking potato
4 C bhel puri mix
1 C seeded chopped tomato
1 C seeded chopped cucumber
1/2 C chopped red onion
1 mango, peeled and chopped (she likes green, I like ripe)
1/4 C chopped cilantro
3 T tamarind chutney
1 T coriander chutney
1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped

Boil the potato and drain, about 7 minutes. Mix together the chutneys and the serrano. Then mix everything together in a large bowl and serve immediately. Serves 4 as an entree (it’s supposed to be a snack but I eat it for dinner).

I often prep all the veggies, mix them, and stash in the fridge. Same with the sauce. When I want a serving, I mix one cup of the bhel mix with a quarter of the vegetables and 1 T sauce. Crunchy every time.


When I first received the package of bhel mix, the coriander chutney had popped its cap in transit. I just used the tamarind, and it’s great, a little heat, enough for me without the serrano. Don’t know what the coriander chutney has to offer, but I imagine it would be nice. [Ed. Looks like she adds some chopped cilantro?] The bhel mix comes from the province of Gujarat, north of Mumbai. Ahmadabad is the big city there.

Sometime last week I saw a recipe for stuffed peppers in a magazine at the Brewster Ladies’ Library. The vision of those gorgeous red peppers with melted cheese topping a vegetarian filling haunted me all week. I hadn’t been cooking lately, too much work, doctor and dentist appointments, and the reigning chaos of a house undergoing renovations. But I was undeterred this morning, before yet another appointment, to make the stuffing for these satisfying peppers. I purchased cubanelle peppers, rather than the red ones, as I find they are more easily digested, and besides, they were on sale!

There’s not much to making this dish vegan, remove the cheese and use a vegan substitute, or just top with toasted pepitas at the table.

Quinoa Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers

2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T ground cumin
1 10 pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry, or 2 C fresh
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 C grated carrots
3/4 C quinoa, rinsed
2 C water
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 t salt
1 1/2 C shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
4 red or cubanelle peppers, cut in half lengthwise, seeds and stems removed

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion, celery and garlic. Saute for a few minutes and add the cumin. Saute another minute.

Add the spinach and tomatoes and saute until most of the liquid is boiled off.

Add carrots, quinoa, black beans, water, and salt. Cover, reduce heat and cook 15-20 minutes, until quinoa is done. Stir in 1 C of the cheese (if you don’t want pepper jack, use regular jack or cheddar).

Oil a 9×13 baking dish, or any dish that will hold the peppers comfortably. I only had 3 cubanelles, and I had a lot of filling left over, such a shame. Kidding. Already considering eggs and quinoa for breakfast. Moving on – fill the peppers to overflowing, cover them with foil, and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove foil, top peppers with the remaining cheese, and bake for another 10 minutes.

I served this with a red cabbage-carrot slaw that Jim made, not sure of the measurements, or I would include that recipe as well. Almost any crispy salad accompaniment would do.

I made these wonderful muffins 3 times over the holidays, but I didn’t have the time to post the recipe! Amber Waves had an overabundance of great squashes at Thanksgiving, both acorn and buttercup. The acorn were the usual light-colored flesh, but very sweet, and the buttercup, well, they were the best I’d ever eaten. As demand waned after Thanksgiving, I took home the leftovers and roasted them cut side down in a 400 degree oven till they were soft, about 40 minutes. When they were cool enough to handle, I scooped the flesh, packed and froze a few quarts, and put the rest in the fridge. Then I went online and looked for a recipe for pumpkin muffins. Epicurious had a few, Martha had one or two laden with sour cream and butter, so I looked at a site my daughter had recommended: Smitten Kitchen.

It seems this person makes recipes from all over the planet, this one comes from the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin, via Gourmet Magazine! It had way too much sugar, especially considering the sweetness of the squash, so I cut back by 3/4 C and added pecans and dried cranberries.

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecans and Dried Cranberries
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
makes 12 petite muffins

1 1/2 C all purpose flour (I used 1/2 C. whole wheat flour and 1 C white)
1 t baking powder
1 C canned pumpkin (or your best leftover squash)
1/3 C vegetable oil (I used coconut)
2 large eggs
1 t pumpkin pie spice (or 1 t cinnamon, 1/2 t ginger & 1/8 t cloves)
1/2 – 3/4 C sugar (for cupcake-sweet muffins, use 1 1/4 C)
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 C chopped pecans
1/2 C dried cranberries

1 t cinnamon
1 T sugar

Heat oven to 350, butter or Pam your muffin pan.

Stir together pumpkin, oil (I heat the coconut oil so it’s liquid), eggs, and sugar till smooth.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices.

Mix the cinnamon with the sugar for topping the muffins.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, mix till just moist, and add the nuts and cranberries. Stir only till nicely distributed, and fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and bake 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes, and transfer muffins to a rack to cool, if you can wait that long!