Carrot Sausages

I never thought I'd put those two words together: carrot and sausage. But somehow, through the magic of peanut butter, it works.


This unbelievable recipe comes from the tiny cookbook entitled "Vegan Made Simple" published by Parragon/lovefood. Anyway, it's the type of cookbook you might see on the discount table or in a garage sale. You know, the little book that no one notices because it doesn't cost $45.00 and it's not wrapped in a glossy book jacket. Check it out on Amazon and see for yourself. (As I write this, you can purchase a used copy for $3.95!) 

Every single recipe I have tried from this gem of a cookbook has been remarkable. Asparagus Walnut Lasagne, Thia Noodle Soup, and a Raspberry Chocolate Cake are just three of the recipes that I have made. This carrot sausage recipe is really unusual, but seriously, good enough for company.

I actually bragged about this unusual meal at my workplace, and then brought some leftovers in for my friends to try. Great reviews from all the meat-eaters, and one perfect suggestion - these could benefit from some type of drizzle or dipping sauce....maybe something mustardy? With the cilantro and peanut butter, they have a slight Thai feel, so keep that in mind. 

Here's what you need (my modifications are included here)
1/3 C minced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 t cumin
4 C shredded carrots
1/2 t salt
3 T chunky peanut butter
1/2 C fresh cilantro, minced
2 C bread crumbs (1 C seasoned and 1 C Panko)

Here's what you do: 
Saute the onion, garlic, jalapeno and cumin in a bit of olive oil.

Add the carrots and salt, cover the pan and  continue to cook until the carrots are soft. 

Add the peanut butter and stir it in until it's all melted. Remove carrot mixture to a large bowl.

Mix in the cilantro and then add the two types of bread crumbs. Use your hands to form 8 sausages. Set on parchment paper in the fridge to rest for at least one hour. 

 Carefully brown the sausages in a tiny bit of oil until brown on most sides and cooked through. 

Vegan Queso Fundido with Rioja Sauce

This queso fundido with  rioja sauce is absolutely the best! The flavor is very intense and rich. I served it on garlic toast along side some marinated mushrooms and corn fritters. It is not a true queso fundido, which traditionally has loads of meat and dairy cheese; it's better because it uses a creamy almond cheese. (You can find the Simple Almond Cheese recipe that I use HERE.)

The Rioja Sauce is the base for the queso fundido: it has everything good in it - tomato sauce, red wine, green olives, garlic, garlic, garlic and olive oil.

I served the sauce on my potato torte (HERE)  which was the perfect accompaniment. This sauce is much too concentrated to serve over pasta, so think of it as a dipping sauce, or a drizzling sauce or even something to spoon over your main meal. (Still eating chickens? It would be great over grilled tofu.)

In a recent post I mentioned that my mom inspired my potato torte and this rioja sauce was also inspired by her. See my note that suggests to serve the potatoes with rioja sauce?
I've been in a cooking dead-zone lately, so being with my mom and her incredible meals very much inspired me to get-back-in-the-cooking-saddle and put a meal on the table.

Any way, try the sauce. Try the fundido. Let me know.

Here's what you need:
1/4 C olive oil (I cut back on this)
1/4 C minced garlic (I did not cut back on this)
1 C dry red wine
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 T capers
1 C good green olives - leave them whole for a pretty presentation
2 T dried basil

Here's what you do:
Warm the garlic in the olive oil until it is cooked - NEVER brown your garlic - use a low heat. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to simmer until the sauce is thick and cooked down.

To Make the Queso Fundido:
Spoon some sauce into an oven proof serving dish (or a cast iron skillet). Spoon some Simple Almond Cheese over the top and bake until bubbly. NOTE: the rioja sauce really, really intensifies during its time in the oven! Perfect for garlic toast.

Potato Torte

"Love your family. Spend time, be kind and serve one another. Make no room for regrets.
 tomorrow is not promised and today is short."

My dad just celebrated his 80th birthday! What a great life he has had and what a great father he is! To make this special day even better, my sister and brother and I all drove up north to surprise him. No spouses, no kids, just us. It's been a long time since the 5 of have been alone together. Life gets so busy, it's rare that we even see one another much at all!

How my mom kept this all a surprise from my dad, I'll never know. She's the type to make all the meals ahead of time, change all the bedding, plan outings and picnics. But she pulled it off.

Meals were great, of course. I brought some Field Roast brand hamburgers and everyone loved them. I also brought portabella mushrooms. Everything else was lovingly prepared for a vegetarian to eat. Thanks Mom!

This potato torte is loosely  based on one my mom made that weekend. She based hers on two different recipes, and I jotted down the method and veganized it and I must say.... it was pretty dang good!

I served this heavenly potato creation with a Rioja Sauce - also inspired by my mom :)

(I just saw that "Pure Vegan" by Joseph Shuldiner has a gorgeous potato torte which I will most definitely try! )

Here's what you need:
Yukon potatoes
about 1/4 C Sour cream
2-3 Ener-G eggs
1/4 C melted butter
herbs to taste (I used thyme and oregano)
grated cheese ( I used a hard mozzarella type vegan cheese)

Here's what you do:
Boil the potatoes until fork tender - don't overdo it, like I did...
Sautee some onions
shred the cheese
make the Ener-G eggs and set aside to thicken
Mix the sour cream, the melted butter and the 'eggs' and set aside

Slice the potatoes and layer in a greased springform pan. Sprinkle some onions and cheese over the potatoes and continue layering in this fashion. Pour sour cream sauce over all and allow to drizzle down between the potatoes. Cover and bake for about 30 minutes. Uncover and brown the top. Allow to cool before unfastening the springform pan. 

Layered Salad with Creamy Salsa Dressing

Layered Salad with Creamy Salsa Dressing
I forgot to add the avocado :(

Are you ready to be the talk of the July 4th picnic? Are you the type who must always bring the most beautiful and delicious dish to the potluck? Are you a salad freak like me? Then I have the recipe for you! Basically, it's layer upon layer of fresh veggies and beans and a super simple creamy dressing made from your favorite salsa. Best part? It's low calorie.

Straight from a thread on my Facebook, and then linked back a thousand times to a FB page called "Eat Clean. Train Mean. Live Green," I bring you "Layered Salad with Creamy Salsa Dressing." You're gonna love it!

I do recommend serving the dressing on the side, because it's not the prettiest looking dressing on the salad. Also, plan to have leftovers - another good reason to keep the dressing on the side. I actually doubled the dressing and plan to use it on burritos, quesadillas and some tasty corn fritters I have in mind. 

For the salad:
layer chopped romaine
black beans -drained and rinsed
fresh mango
frozen corn (thawed)
red onion
orange bell pepper
cherry tomatoes 

For the dressing:
1/2 C coconut milk (I used Silk brand)
1/2 C salsa
2 T mayo
1 T olive oil
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/2  t chili powder
1/4 t salt

fresh cilantro (maybe 2 T or more to taste)

Blend all the dressing ingredients, except the cilantro, well. Add in the chopped cilantro and blend it quickly one last time. 

Smoky Little Devils

I'm still working my way through the many files on my camera. See what I found today. These Smoky Little Devils can be found on the FOK - Recipes app, which I HIGHLY recommend! FOK stands for "Forks Over Knives," which I pray and hope you have all heard of. Excellent movie and excellent resources. Be forewarned -- viewing this movie might just change your life .... for the BETTER, I must say.

I served these at a church potluck last December and they weren't well received....not because they're not delicious, but because the crowd was very 'meat-centric' and couldn't get enough chicken and ham and cheese and whatever else was filling them up. So, I just ate them all myself, with no prob! Literally, walk past and pop one in my mouth...put three more on my plate....walk past again and pop another in my mouth.... and on and on and on....

The filling is a green onion hummus and it has just a bit too much turmeric for my taste. I'll cut back next time.

Spring Cleaning

I have been going through old files on my camera - a sort of spring cleaning, if you will. So many great meals were hidden away there, like this one! I have no idea what cookbook I used, or if I made this recipe up, but I do remember I made it on a weeknight. I recall feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of using phyllo on a work night. What was I thinking? (The truth is that phyllo is pretty easy to work with and completely forgiving.)

I think this recipe might come from Dreena Burton.....looks like it has white beans, red peppers, and spinach. Something in there made it creamy. 

See how many tears and rips and shreds the phyllo has? No prob! Just glue it together with olive oil and bake. Who cares what it looks like when it tastes good on a week night? 

Mushroom and Cannellini Paprikas - Isa Chandra Moskowtiz

Look what I found on my camera, buried underneath all the photos of various this and that. A photo of a beautiful meal I made last summer (notice the summer dishes and the deck table.) I remember that we loved this dinner - as you know, we devour mushrooms like there's no tomorrow. I can highly recommend anything from Isa Chandra Moskowitz - her recipes are easy to make and very tasty. She did not disappoint on her variation of paprika. The original recipe can be found in "Appetite for Reduction" and I probably made a few changes --- like eliminating the smoked paprika for regular paprika.

I can't tell if I served the goodness over mashed potatoes or caulipots.... either way would be good. And I bet that's fresh parsley from my little deck garden. You can find the recipe all over the internet, or do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this excellent cookbook. 

Chickpea Avocado Salad - Forks Over Knives

The sun was shining yesterday and I felt the hope of spring. I feel encouraged and ready to open windows, walk outside and eat lighter meals. Here's the perfect salad to wake up the spring in you. It's amazingly simple and incredibly delicious. Find the original recipe here posted at Forks Over Knives on their Super Bowl 2015 menu. (Looking back at the recipe just now, I realize I did not include the jalapeno pepper and I can't decide if this salad needs the heat or is perfect as is.)

Burgundy Mushrooms (a 9 hour recipe)

More mushrooms. I know! I know! Sorry. But these are very special. "The best mushroom experience of your life," according to the Food Network Magazine, December, 2014. My photo is exceptionally bad…. So embarrassed. Be sure to serve these babies with lots of crusty bread to soak up the buttery burgundy sauce. Heavenly as it, or with pasta, pizza, salad, any kind of rice. Literally, they melted in my mouth. I couldn't get enough, which was a problem because I took them to a party and you know what that's *should* be tasting everyone else's food, but you only *want* to eat yours. Been there? This recipe made way too many – next time I will cut it in half for a more manageable amount. 

4 pounds white button mushrooms
2 sticks butter (I used Earth Balance. Next time I will reduce this amount)
4 cubes chicken bouillon
4 cubes beef bouillon 
( I used 2 cubes vegetable bouillon - it was plenty. Be careful not to add too much sodium)
1 t dill seeds (I used dried dill)
5 cloves garlic
1 liter burgundy wine or other dry red wine
1 1/2 t Worcestershire sauce

Put everything in a large Dutch oven. Pour 2 C boiling water over all. Stir. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and simmer for 6 (yes, six) hours. Remove lid, simmer for another 3 (yes, three) hours. 

Roasted Cabbage Steaks

Take the largest head of cabbage you can find. Slice it into thick slabs, leaving the stem intact. Mince lots of garlic and mix it with lots of olive oil. 

Brush the garlicky oil over each cabbage steak. Sprinkle with pepper. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about an hour. Flip over once at the half way point, being careful not to break the delicate leaves apart. Devour. 

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