Monthly Archives: October 2011

Vegan Mofo #15 Babycakes!

I love going to Downtown Disney to see what fun and exciting activities are happening. Then there are the shops, the smells of popcorn and waffle cones baking, along with fried chicken from Pollo Campero. The smell coming off that place can be a nightmare for a vegan. However, their black beans and rice really hit the spot. Yet the biggest reason to go there is BabycakesNYC .

I love the variety of flavors and colors of all the baked goodies. The staff is pretty cool as well. The only thing is I wish that they had a larger variety of items that the other bakeries in New York and California. Like a cookies and creme cupcake, salted caramel, or Death by Chocolate. I guess what this branch is trying to do is make the basics because they are on Disney’s property with all those new to gluten-free and vegan cuisine. Or maybe they are still trying to figure out what will work best in the South.

All I know is that I wanted my cupcake NOW and I did get it. You just have to love the brownie cupcakes, awesome! If you are in the Metro-Orlando area, make your way there – FAST! Happy Eating!

Vegan Mofo #14 Australian Tofu “Meat” Pie


A friend of the family popped into my head recently. I met her in my pre-vegan days at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. She was conducting culinary demonstrations. The dishes she created were amazing, yet simple utilizing fresh ingredients and some that I had not heard of or known. I decided that I wanted to have one of her dishes. I remember the flavors, I just did not remember the recipe. I decided to create my own version from my palate’s memory. This amazing chef who captured my thoughts – Sally James!


I have this jar of almond butter that I really didn’t like the flavor, so I wanted to try to incorporate it into the recipe somehow.  So I added it to the crust. I do not consider myself a baker at all. yet I thought Why not?



Once I filled them and capped them off, I took a deep breath and put them in the oven quietly crossing my fingers in hopes that they come out okay. Let’s just say, there is not a pie to be found. I will make these again.


Australian Tofu “Meat” Pie

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 6


  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • Filling
  • 1 14 ounce package extra firm water packed tofu
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon porcini mushroom powder
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup plus addition to serve with pies
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 8 ounce bag of frozen green peas


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Place flour, almond butter, and non-dairy milk into bowl and mix until a ball forms.
  3. Dough will be sticky at first yet once it sits, it will be smooth and easy to handle.
  4. Sprinkle a little flour on the counter.
  5. Place dough on the flour.
  6. Make sure both sides gets a little flour to make it easier to roll out the dough.
  7. Roll out dough to a 1/8" thick.
  8. Use a small bowl or a cup or a glass to measure what you need to make the pies in a muffin tin.
  9. Make sure there enough for lids on the pie.
  10. Filling
  11. Open tofu package.
  12. Drain.
  13. Rinse.
  14. Crumble tofu in a skillet (I love using a cast iron skillet).
  15. Add flavor seasonings (the vegetables) and dry spices.
  16. Cook for 20 minutes on med heat.
  17. Add tamari, ketchup, and vegetable broth.
  18. Cook until liquid is nearly gone.
  19. Remove from heat.
  20. Cool.
  21. Divide the cooled filling between 12 pie crust in the muffin tin.
  22. Place crust tops on and seal by pinching the bottom and top crust together.
  23. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
  24. Peas
  25. Steam green peas for 5 minutes.
  26. Place in bow.
  27. Mash peas.
  28. To Serve
  29. Start with pea mash.
  30. Place a pie on top.
  31. Top with ketchup.
  32. Serve.






Vegan Mofo #13 Saucy Tempeh


I wasn’t one to have tempeh because the flavor was just awful. Tempeh’s flavor can be overwhelming because of the culture, the fermentation process.  Yet it is that fermentation  that make tempeh an excellent powerhouse of nutrition.


I decided to use a tomato sauce as a way to off center the tartness that tempeh can have. Yet, I learned that this veggie tempeh has a nice delicate flavor. Try it for yourself.


Saucy Tempeh

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 14oz package Tinkyada Brown Rice (Fettucini Style)
  • 1 8oz package Lightlife Organic Garden Veggie Tempeh
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 1/4 cup celery
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 28oz can Muir Glen Tomato Puree
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil


  1. Prepare pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Tempeh
  3. Remove tempeh from packaging.
  4. Cut into bite-size cubes.
  5. Place into skillet to saute on med heat.
  6. Flavoring (Vegetable Seasonings)
  7. Chop onions and celery.
  8. Mince garlic.
  9. Add vegetable seasonings to tempeh and continue to saute on med heat.
  10. Once the onions are opaque and the celery has softened, add the tomato puree.
  11. Add tamari and black pepper.
  12. Reduce heat.
  13. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  14. Add chopped basil.
  15. Serve.

Vegan Mofo # 12 Gnocchi with Shiitake Mushrooms and Haricot Vert

 There are evenings when I have had a full day of activities that the thought of spending hours in the kitchen can be draining. So what do you do? Grab some frozen and a few fresh items that can be prepared quickly – say 30 minutes.

I love this dish so much that I change it up almost every time I make it. You can do the same.


If you add a salad, it further enhances the meal while provide additional nutrients and balance.


Gnocchi with Shiitake Mushrooms and Haricot Vert

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 2


  • 1 bag Caesar's Organic Vegan Gnocchi
  • 12 shiitake mushrooms, any kind you choose
  • 1/4 cup celery, about 1 celery rib
  • 1/4 cup onion, about 1 small onion
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups haricot vert
  • 1 cup vegetable broth, plus 1/4 cup for sauteing
  • 1 tablespoon basil, fresh chopped
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste


  1. Prepare the gnocchi according to the instructions on the package.
  2. Set aside once done.
  3. For the Shiitake Mushrooms
  4. Wash mushrooms.
  5. Remove stems.
  6. Slice and chop caps.
  7. Haricot Vert
  8. Rinse the haricot vert.
  9. Set aside.
  10. Flavor (Vegetable Seasonings)
  11. Chop celery and onions.
  12. Place shittake mushrooms, celery, and onions in a skillet.
  13. Saute for 10 minutes or until slightly brown using the 1/4 cup vegetable broth to avoid sticking.
  14. Add the haricot vert.
  15. Saute for 5-8 minutes.
  16. Add gnocchi
  17. Chop basil.
  18. Add basil.
  19. Add tamari.
  20. Add fresh cracked black pepper to taste.





Vegan Mofo #11 More Than Hummus


I met a friend at a little restaurant for dinner. She talked about her enthusiasm for finding a place that we both can eat considering that I am vegan and she is not. So I was curious.

Upon arriving at the quaint restaurant in a shopping center no doubt, I couldn’t believe my eyes!


We were greeted outside. It was as if we had arrived at someone’s home. The door was opened for us. We were seated. Once we decided not to have an spirits, we were given orange juice. Very lovely freshly squeezed orange juice. What a surprise!



Then the food made its appearance! The first dish was tabbouleh. You know, that dish you see in Falafel Shops, Jewish delis, and Mediterrain restaurants. It is cold salad traditionally made with bulgur, chopped parsley, mint, cucumber, tomato, onion, and garlic with a olive oil and lemon dressing.  Yet I think theirs is mostly herbs and not bulgur. Also stuffed grape leaves.


Then he hummus (we got two) decorated in two different ways. I think it depends on who makes it.


They also have a Falafel Salad. Who would have thought?! It comes with a yogurt sauce and toasted pita with parmesan cheese and feta sprinkled on the salad with the crumbled falafel.



It looked so good that I ordered one without the yogurt sauce, the feta, and the parmesan cheese covered pita to bring home. Here’s my plating of the salad.



I didn’t have any tofu or yogurt (it was time to go to the grocery store), so I left it plain. Let’s just say, that salad was amazing! You can try it too. If you are ever in town stop by. You will love it!

Damascus Cafe & Sweets is now closed.

Damascus Cafe & Sweets
7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd. Unit 78
Orlando, FL 32819




Vegan Mofo #10 Craving a Treat Day


What do you do when you have little cravings? You must fill them! You have a Treat Day! I know what you’re thinking (or not), this isn’t healthy! I beg the differ. I know that you’re worried about getting carried away. However, once you get a taste of what you’re craving, you’ll be satisfied.

If you ignore your cravings just because vegan is equated with healthy, boring and bland, it will set you up just as it does for omnivores for an all out pig out fest that goes way beyond what you originally intended. So if there is a vegan equivalent of your craving, have at it.

Gardein Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers


Enticing packaging. Look, it’s even telling me to “savor it”. Look at the picture on the package calling me. Gardein Lime Crispy Fingers. Okay, so it sounds like something you’d have for a Halloween party. Still, think of all the possibilities. For now, we’ll follow the instructions on the package to get started. You just don’t know how much I hate (yes, hate is a strong word) to follow rules. It’s not in my vocabulary, yet I’ll do my best. We lay each one out for a trip to the oven for their tans, ha ha ha. I couldn’t resist.



And how does it taste? If you did not know any better, you would think it was the real thing. Honestly, that is seriously scary. How does Gardein do it? First off, it has texture and taste of real chicken. The spiciness of the chipotle peppers comes through quite strong. This would work well with avocados or cucumbers and radish in a taco salad. Hell, just put it all in there with a creamy tofu perilla leaf sauce. Yes. we will make that another time.

Those donuts from earlier came from Whole Foods and yes they are vegan. One is a creme filled donut like a Boston Creme filled donut which are round or a Long John which is rectangular. However, it’s really more of an éclair because it has a creme filling and topped with icing. Long Johns do not have a filling. Yet, when you are having a craving who cares what it is called, right?

Next time, I will get a green drink. Balance.


Misoba: A Little Late Night Meal

Vegan Mofo # 6



Off to a late start again. My days are off because I don’t get to bed until morning. I have always been a night owl.

I wasn’t all that hungry so I opted for a quick and easy late night meal (late night meal is yasik in Korean) – Misoba! Misoba is my name for miso soba noodle soup. I know that miso is Japanese and not Korean, still it’s convenient late at night. Sometimes I do use doenjang (fermented Korean soybean paste) to make ramyeon, however I tend to cook that for much longer than miso. We’ll save that for another time.


Misoba - Miso Soup


There isn’t anything like a great bowl of miso soup. Especially on a cold night. The best thing about it is you can put whatever you have on hand or whatever desired ingredient that you love to make it as hardy or as light as you feel. When it’s late and you have had a long day or just came in from a fun night, making a dish like this can hit the spot. The vegetables I add always change due to whatever I may have on hand. Just imagine all the flavor combinations that can be created with even the simplest of seasonings whether it’s the use of fresh or carmelized onions or onion powder. Even ingredients like minced garlic or garlic powder. How about some parsley, cilantro, or basil. Or even some baked tofu or tempeh. The choices are endless! The point is to use your imagination, enjoy yourself and have fun being creative. Cooking is really simple especially in this case. Boil noodles. Rinse. Heat water. Add any ingredients you want. Add miso. Add noodles, ingredients you added and broth to a bowl. Get some chopsticks and serve. Now see how simple that is?




  • 2 bundles Japanese Buckwheat Noodles
  • 4 teaspoons brown rice miso (dark variety aged 1 1/2 - 2 yrs)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Field Roast smoked tomato deli slices, cut into strips
  • Any vegetable you want (I used a little carrot, peas, and shredded purple (red) cabbage
  • nori (optional) shredded
  • green onions (optional), chopped


  1. Prepare Japanese Buckwheat noodles according to the instructions on the package.
  2. Deli Slices
  3. Place the two Field Roast deli slices on a cutting board. Cut into strips (of your choice of size)
  4. Vegetables
  5. Thinly shred some cabbage in any amount you like.
  6. Steam any amount of any vegetable you like.
  7. Nori
  8. Cut strips of any size of nori with kitchen shears or chef's knife.
  9. Water
  10. Boil water.
  11. Turn off burner.
  12. Add the 4 teaspoons brown rice miso.
  13. Whisk.
  14. Place half the Japanese buckwheat noodles into a soup bowl. Place strips of deli slices on top. Next add the shredded cabbage. Add vegetables of your choice. Finally, add the nori, if you are using it. You can also add chopped green onions.
  15. Serve.