Quick and Easy: Creamy Tomato Mushroom Pasta


  • 2-3 servings of pasta
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8-oz sliced mushrooms (2-3 cups)
  • 1-1.5 cups canned diced tomatoes, to taste
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4-1/3 cup nutritional yeast, to taste
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in your pasta and cook until Al dente, about 7-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onion in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until translucent.
  3. Stir in the sliced mushrooms and diced tomato and cook for another 8-10 minutes or so over medium-high heat, until some of the water cooks off.
  4. Stir in the fresh basil, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes. Add salt to taste. Simmer for another 5 minutes or so and adjust seasonings to taste if desired.
  5. Drain pasta and add back into the pot. Stir in the pasta sauce, heat, and serve immediately with garlic or crusty bread if you’d like.

Mall Pretzels

Ah, summertime. I’m sure we all have fond memories of swimming pools, bike rides, and of course, soft pretzels at the mall! At least we can enjoy one of the three while sitting behind a desk at work …

Ingredients (makes 6):

  • ¾ cup warm water (110°F)
  • 1 ¼ tsp of active dry yeast (half of a .25 ounce package)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup warm water (110°F)
  • 2 tbsp baking soda (for soaking)
  • ½ tbsp vegan margarine or other oil, melted
  • coarse kosher salt (or pretzel salt)
  • mustard, for dipping (optional)


  1. Pour ¾ cup warm water into a mixing bowl. Dissolve yeast, brown sugar, and salt into the water. Stir in flour. When mixture comes together, dump onto a floured surface. Knead dough about 8 minutes, until smooth. Pour a few drops of olive oil into mixing bowl; place dough in and turn to coat surface. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  2. When dough is ready, cut into 6 pieces. Roll each into ½ inch thick ropes. Shape pretzels by forming a U, then twisting ends and flipping over onto itself, gently pressing overlapping dough to seal. Let rise for 15 minutes.
  3. Fill a bowl with 1 cup warm water. Add baking soda and stir. Soak each pretzel for 30 seconds, flipping over halfway through if not fully submerged. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with margarine or oil and sprinkle coarse salt over top. (If you prefer sweet pretzels, use cinnamon sugar instead of salt.) Bake at 450°F for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

via: Elephantine

Tomato Salad: sour, sweet and spicy

This summer is the first time I’ve been able to get a proper garden up and running. It’s not for a lack of trying, but more a lack of decent sunlight. I recently moved to a new home a few months back and now have a great garden spot full of sunshine. One of the first things in the ground was an array of tomato and pepper plants, so I was really excited to get this submission from Tumblr user Cucsusoon so I can put them to good use in a few weeks. Thanks for the great recipe!


  • 5 - 6 tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper (yellow makes for a great look)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 - 4 dried apricots
  • 1 pinch of chili powder
  • 1 pinch of salt and sugar each
  • 2 - 3 tbsp olive oil (or other oil if preferred)
  • 3 - 4 tbsp vinegar (tastes best if it’s a mix between generic wine and balsamic vinegar)


  1. Finely chop the onion, the dried apricots and the garlic.
  2. Add a pinch of chili powder (or more, if you like it spicier), then a pinch of salt and sugar each.
  3. Add the oil and the vinegar and stir the mix which is the salad’s dressing.
  4. Cut both the pepper and the tomatoes in rather small pieces and add them to the already prepared dressing mix.

Note: The salad tastes even better if you leave it for 10 - 15 minutes after preparing it because the tomatoes and pepper will have already absorbed some of the dressing. The salad can also be used as a sort of BBQ sauce if the ingredients are either cut into tiny pieces or even mashed.

via: Cucsusoon

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 3 1/2 ounces ginger, grated 
  • 1 red chili, seeded and chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cans tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, halved and sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut into batons
  • 1 celeriac root, cut into batons (sub turnip or other root vegetable)
  • 1/2 bunch spinach
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 4-5 dates, chopped
  • 1/4 preserved lemon peel, chopped (or just some lemon juice and zest)


  1. Toast the cinnamon sticks, cloves and seeds in a dry frying pan until their aroma rises. Grind finely using a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy saucepan and stir the spices, including the turmeric, in it briefly. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes, then add the ginger, chili and garlic. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the flavours are well blended. Add the tomatoes, dates and all the vegetables, except the spinach. Cover the pan and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes
  3. Fold the spinach and cilantro into the vegetable tagine, season to taste. Sprinkle with preserved lemons and serve over couscous (see below for an optional recipe).


This makes a LOT so you might want to cut in in half on plan for leftovers. Also, try serving with some plain, soy yogurt if you want to cut the spice just a little.

Spicy Couscous


  • 200g (7 oz) wholewheat couscous
  • 200 ml (6¾  oz) boiling water
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, each cut into 2 to 3 pieces
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp harissa (Tunisian hot chilli sauce)
  • 4 Tbsp water


  1. Place the couscous in a heat-proof glass bowl, and cover with the boiling water.
  2. Place a lid on top, and allow the couscous to absorb the water –  for around 6 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small non-stick saucepan, pour the olive oil, and fry the garlic for a minute or so (don’t burn it).
  4. Next, add the tomato paste, and harissa. Lower the heat, add the water, and allow to cook for 10 minutes, stirring so that it won’t stick or burn.
  5. You will be left with a thick sauce – don’t be discouraged at the quantity, as this is highly concentrated.
  6. Now remove lid from the couscous, and pour the sauce over it. Fluff up with a fork, and garnish with orange pieces and freshly chopped parsley.

via: Treehugger and Mouthwatering Vegan (there’s another great tagine recipe there, too)

Curry-Coconut Popcorn Balls

Summer is around the corner here in the US and these popcorn balls would pack perfectly for a picnic at the park. You’ll want a candy thermometer for this one, but you can always follow the carefree Summer ethos and “wing it”. I’m sure it’ll work out fine!


  • 9 cups plain popped popcorn
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened angel flake coconut, toasted
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped candied ginger


  1. Coat a large heatproof bowl with coconut oil or cooking spray and place popcorn in the bowl.
  2. Place sugar, corn syrup, water, vinegar, and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Bring to a boil and cook until mixture registers 260°F on a candy/fat thermometer, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in coconut oil, curry powder, and vanilla until melted and smooth.
  3. Immediately drizzle sugar mixture over popcorn. Add coconut and ginger and stir continuously with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the bowl, until popcorn is thoroughly coated and cool enough to handle, about 3 minutes.
  4. Using oiled hands, tightly press mixture (it may still be a bit warm) into 3-inch rounds. Place on waxed or parchment paper to cool completely, about 15 to 20 minutes.

via: Chow.com

Focaccia With Tomatoes and Rosemary


  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) olive oil, plus an additional 2 tablespoons (25 grams) for drizzling
  • 250 grams (approximately 2 cups) whole-wheat flour
  • 200 to 220 grams (approximately 1 2/3 to 1 3/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour, plus additional as needed for kneading
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons (13 grams) salt
  • 3/4 pound Roma tomatoes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (to taste)


  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, or in a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water. Add the olive oil, whole-wheat flour, 200 grams of the all-purpose flour and salt and mix together briefly using the paddle attachment. Change to the dough hook and beat for 8 to 10 minutes at medium speed, adding flour as necessary. The dough should eventually form a ball around the dough hook and slap against the sides of the bowl as the mixer turns; it will be sticky. Remove from the bowl, flour your hands and knead for a minute on a lightly floured surface, and shape into a ball.
  2. If kneading the dough by hand, dissolve the yeast in the water with the sugar as directed. Stir in the olive oil, whole-wheat flour, salt and all-purpose flour by the half-cup, until the dough can be scraped out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour as necessary, for 10 minutes, until the dough is elastic and smooth. Shape into a ball.
  3. Clean and dry your bowl and oil lightly with olive oil. Place the dough in it, rounded side down first, then rounded side up. Cover tightly with plastic and let rise in a warm spot for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours, until doubled.
  4. Punch down the dough. Cover with lightly oiled plastic and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably with a baking stone in it. Line a sheet pan with parchment and oil generously. Roll or press out the dough into a rectangle the size of the sheet pan or just slightly smaller. To do this efficiently, roll or press out the dough, stop and wait 5 minutes for the gluten to relax, then roll or press out again, and repeat until the dough reaches the right size. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Just before baking, use your fingertips to dimple the dough all over.
  6. Cut the tomatoes into rounds and place on top of the focaccia. Sprinkle with coarse salt and the rosemary. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil over all.
  7. Bake, setting the pan on top of the baking stone (if using), for 20 to 25 minutes, until the bread is deep golden brown. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving, or allow to cool completely.

Note: You can divide the dough in half and make 2 smaller focacce that would fit 14-inch pizza pans.

Yield: 1 large focaccia or 2 smaller focacce, 12 to 15 pieces.

Advance preparation: You can make the dough through Step 4 and place it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Remove from the bag and bring to room temperature before proceeding. The bread should be eaten or frozen within a couple of days.

via: NY Times

Soft Tofu Stew (Soondubu Jjigae)

Soondubu Jjigae is a Korean soft tofu soup that is considered by many to be a hot, healthy comfort food. There is a real mix of flavors and spices and yet, it’s easy to make and is hearty without being unhealthy. This recipe serves one (generously) but makes enough broth for at least five servings. To make it for a crowd, I suggest heating the serving dishes in the oven while you cook everything in one pot.


For the stock:

  • 1 sheet of dried kelp
  • 3 dried shitake mushrooms
  • ½ onion, quartered
  • 6 cups water

For the sauce:

  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1Tbsp Korean red pepper powder (*see note)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp liquid from kimchi jar

For the stew:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup sliced zucchini or yellow squash
  • 2 shitake mushrooms, diced (stems removed)
  • ¼ cup chopped vegan kimchi
  • 1 cup roughly chopped spinach, or other dark leafy green
  • 1/3 lb soft or silken tofu
  • Salt, to taste


  • ¼ cup torn crown daisy (edible chrysanthemum), optional
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • ½ green chili, sliced


  1. Combine all stock ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Mix together all sauce ingredients and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in an earthenware pot or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes until the mushrooms release their liquid. Stir in the sauce and sauté for a few seconds until bubbling. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the kimchi and spinach and boil until the spinach wilts.
  3. Drop the tofu into the stew in one block. Gently break up the tofu as you stir it into the sauce (don’t crumble it in because the stew should be chunky and the tofu is very delicate). Continue to boil until the veggies are soft.
  4. Taste for salt. Serve with white or brown rice and garnishes.

*Note: Do not substitute with cayenne! Korean red pepper powder is coarse and has a different flavor. Also, the amount in the recipe will make a fairly spicy stew, so you may want to start off with half a tablespoon and add more to taste before stirring in the tofu.

via: Gumshoe Gastronomy (lots more information on this dish, too)

Vegan Irish Cream

Yield: ~3.5-4 cups


  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup Sucanat (or brown sugar should work)
  • 3/4 cup strong espresso or coffee, or to taste
  • 3/4-1 cup Jameson Irish Whiskey, or to taste
  • pinch of salt


  1. In a medium or large pot, add the cans of coconut milk and whisk. Now whisk in the sugar. Bring to a low boil, stirring frequently. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes, while stirring frequently, until it cooks down and thickens slightly.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the espresso or coffee. Add in espresso/coffee to taste.
  3. Add a pinch of salt and finally the Jameson, to taste. I added about 3/4 + 2 tbsp of whiskey and it was strong, but so is the original. Make it as strong or weak as you prefer.
  4. Store in sealed jars and serve over ice, with coffee (try cold-pressed!) or tea, or in baked goods. The whiskey and espresso settles to the bottom of the jar slightly, so give it a good stir before using. I’m not positive how long this keeps in the fridge, but it’s been good in our fridge for a couple days now and I expect it to last 4-5 days.

Morel Mushrooms

This is the time of year where the only kind of hunting I can get behind takes place … hunting for morel mushrooms. Here in the US Midwest, it’s a fairly popular weekend activity and since they’re only in season a couple of weeks out of the year, it takes a little timing to find any.

Morel mushrooms are wild mushrooms that grow in the Spring near creek beds and under fallen trees. They are very distinctive looking and have a wonderful flavor and texture. They can run from $20-30 per pound at the market, so they really are a gourmet ingredient! They can be roasted in the oven, cooked on the grill, or even added to pizzas. Here are some recipes to get you started and let me know if you have any others that you’d like to share!


Morel Wine Sauce

I used white wine here but you can also substitute other wines like red wine, Madeira, and Marsala.


  • 1 lb morels, sliced lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat oil in a skillet and add the morel mushrooms and green onions. Cook until the morels are slightly browned.
  2. With a slotted spoon, remove the morels and as many onion pieces as you can easily get to a plate. Leave any remaining oil, and don’t worry about getting every last onion piece.
  3. Add the white wine and salt. Boil the liquid until is had evaporated to the consistency of syrup. Watch this carefully to get the right texture.
  4. Add the morels and green onions back to the skillet and briefly mix everything together. Remove from the heat and serve over anything (pasta, rice, etc).


Asparagus and Morels

  • 1/2 lb fresh morels, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bunches asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot pieces, garlic, morels, and asparagus. Cook until the morels are browned and the asparagus is tender, usually 8 to 10 minutes.


Morel Mushrooms with Peas


  • 1/2 oz dried or 12 fresh morel mushrooms
  • 1 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbl veg. oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 oz tomatoes, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups fresh shelled or defrosted frozen peas
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala


  1. Rinse off dried morels, soak in 1 1/2 cups water 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. If using fresh there is no need to soak. Drain and save soaking liquid, straining it through a clean piece of cloth. Cut each mushroom in half lengthwise.
  2. Blend ginger, garlic and 1/4 cup water into a smooth paste. Heat oil in a 2 1/2 to 3 qt. pot over medium heat, add paste, stir and fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne, stir and fry for another minute.
  4. Add minced tomato, stir and fry for about 3 minutes, mashing the tomato with stirring spoon, until you have a relatively smooth paste.
  5. Add morels and strained soaking liquid (or 1 1/2 cups water if using fresh morels), peas, and salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, lower heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  6. Add garam masala, stirring to mix.


Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Morels and Fiddleheads


  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil, give or take
  • 1 9-oz Package Fresh Gnocchi
  • 3-5 Fresh Morels, halved (sub any wild mushroom)
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Fiddlehead Ferns, washed and dried (sub asparagus tips*)
  • 1/4 Cup Roasted Red Pepper, diced
  • 2-3 Canned Water-Packed Artichoke Hearts, sliced
  • 1/8 tsp Salt, plus more for seasoning
  • Fresh Black Pepper


  1. Slice your morels in half and inspect them carefully for dirt and critters. Since morels are foraged for in the wild, they sometimes have surprises hiding inside. Just saying.
  2. Heat a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add halved morels and a teaspoon or so of oil. Saute until golden brown, 2-3 minutes, adding a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  3. Add the ferns, roasted pepper, and artichoke hearts to the pan, with a teaspoon or so more oil if needed. Add 1/8 tsp salt to season. Saute for 2-3 minutes until tender and the artichoke hearts and ferns are beginning to color. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. While the pan is still hot (medium-high heat), add the raw gnocchi and enough oil to coat well. Cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown on all sides and slightly puffy. Once cooked through, add the fern/artichoke/pepper mixture back to the pan and toss gently until well combined. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Plate, adding the cooked morel mushrooms to the top before serving.

*confession: I would absolutely sub asparagus only because I think fiddleheads look really bizarre. That’s totally just me, though …