Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Tonight I was hoping to mow the lawn when I got home because it finally stopped raining. Though I was distracted at my lunch break and reminded of Urban Vegan's Tart Gallery. After work I drove over to Bed Bath and Beyond to purchase my first tart pan with my $5 coupon. Yay, tart pan! Then, on the way home, I stopped at the Ward's Berry Farm to pick up some local raspberries. It was after 7pm when I got in the door and too dark to take care of the grass.

First thing I did was mix up the tart crust and put that in the fridge. While it was chilling, I made up some nachos. They didn't photograph well, but let me tell you that they were amazingly tasty. The cheese is Not Cho Cheeze from Little Lad's. The first ingredients are potatoes and carrots and then lemon juice and spices. I really need to experiment in duplicating it. I've never seen a "cheese" recipe like it, but I love the stuff. The rest of the toppings are chipotle salsa and mashed black beans.

After the nachos I went in search of cookie cutters for the tart topping and of course I couldn't even find one. I swear there is a box somewhere is this house with 100's of cutters. Instead I sliced the dough by hand. The recipe is Chocolate Raspberry Linzer Tart from vegweb. After the dinner, I was stuffed. Though I did manage a small slice of the tart and it is pretty good. I do like chocolate and raspberry together, but it would have been just as good sans chocolate. The crust is amazingly flavorful. I subbed sucanat for the brown sugar and that likely added nice undertones. For the filling, I used some organic strawberry, blueberry, raspberry preserves. I had no powdered sugar for the top, but I think it looks ok without it. Behold my vegan tart!

PS - I'm lazy and like to skip steps if possible. If you decide to make this recipe here's a time saving tip for you. After you take the crust out of the oven, put the chocolate chips on top. The heat will melt them and you can just spread it on the bottom. That is one less pan as you don't need to melt the chocolate.

This week has been busy as usual at work. Since I am not traveling until next week, I've been trying to get much done at home. I bought my house just over a year ago and up until now, the only furniture I purchased was a really nice dining set and a huge bean bag chair. Now, I actually have a sofa and I am looking at getting some other new stuff as I get more organized.

I've got one more (well maybe two) Tommy stories for you from my last trip. I'll write up the best one that I had been hanging onto. When I left Maine last Monday, I packed up and stopped at one of my friend's for dinner on the way home. C has a big German Shepherd and two cats. We weren't sure what Tommy was going to think of that. I walked in with Tommy in her carrier and the dog came running over to check out what was going on. Tommy let out this blood curdling raptor scream. It was so loud, I am sure the neighbors heard it. She scared the poor pooch (and the cats). They all ran away to another room.

Later, I brought Tommy over to Chouli the cat to see what they thought of each other. Choules was not interested at all which is funny because she likes to terrorize the poor birds in the backyard. I sat down on the couch to watch tv and Ernie the kitten climbed up on my lap. Tommy was not afraid of Ernie and she kept making kissing noises. Ernie stood up nose to beak with Tommy while she continued to make kissy sounds. Then Ernie starting patting Tommy. He was pawing gently at her back. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen! They snuggled right up next to each other and hung with me the rest of the time until I left.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


My work schedule is killing me this month. Sometimes the travel is draining. At home I am in the middle moving furniture around and re-organizing. It just seems like I can't catch up.

On the food front, I've been cooking very simple dinners. A recent example is the BBQ tofu and fresh sliced cucumber from my garden. It is not the most photo friendly dish. Tommy loves tofu. She was trying to so hard to get my attention in hope of getting a piece while I took this picture. As soon as the pic was snapped, I gave her some tofu and she was a happy bird.

I've got tons of baby cucumbers and green tomatoes in the garden. Soon I will have so many fresh veggies I won't no what to do with them all.

The end of last week and beginning of this week I was in Maine again for work. Since I was away for four days, I brought Tommy with me. I have a great friend who lives by the office and he doesn't mind my screaming parrot! Though, lucky for us he travels a lot too. Most of the time I was there, we missed each other.

The second night I was in Maine, I stopped at the Whole Grocer and picked up some Little Lad's vegan tarts and some Lad's popcorn. Tommy digs Lad's popcorn with the nutritional yeast topping. At one point I was watching tv and Tommy kept trying to eat the popcorn. The funny thing was that the popcorn was in a clear plastic bag. Tommy could see it, so she kept trying to grab kernels. She couldn't figure out why she couldn't get at it. After watching her and chuckling for a few minutes, I eventually caved and gave her more popcorn!

Saturday night, I met some friends in Portland and we headed to the Ray LaMontagne / Guster concert. Ray was pretty new to me, but I really dug his music. Guster put on an amazing show as usual. I lucked out by seeing them in Maine. This was the last show of the tour, so Guster did an extra long encore!

Sunday I met up with two other friends and since it was raining, I brought Tommy with me to hang out at their apartment. One of Tommy's favorite foods when I was vegetarian was cheese, now she doesn't get dairy cheese anymore (she does like VeganGourmet). One of the guys made friends with Tommy quickly when he gave her a cube of cheese.

It took her awhile to get used to new people, but she was happy hanging out with us rather than being cooped up at home. They have a ficus tree. Tommy ran across the room and climbed up onto the tree. She loves hiding out in the leaves. We let her stay there until she started ripping leaves and bark. After that, Tommy starting exploring the house. She found their bikes on the wall and climbed up to perch on the bars.

They made pasta for dinner. Though Tommy normally loves pasta, she wasn't very hungry. All of the new people and the new space was probably too much for her. One of their friends joined us for supper and then stayed to do some quick haircuts! She asked if I wanted a haircut too, and I figured what the heck. Free dinner and a free haircut... Tommy refused to watch from across the room, so she was perched on my knee the whole time.

That's plenty of rambling from me. I think I will go check out some other blogs and update my links on the right. Unfortunately, I need to drive up to Maine tomorrow for work again. At least I will be home all weekend.

Hope you all are having a great week!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Grasshopper and TJ Scallywaggles

I haven't had much time to post. That is partly because of more traveling for work. Most of my meals have been made up of leftovers. Sometimes I forget that I am just one and I don't cut the recipe in half. That means I may eat the same variations for a few days.

I did cook up some sauteed chard with pine nuts and garlic. When I was in Maine last weekend, a friend gave me some chard from her garden.

Tonight, I met my father for dinner in Boston at Grasshopper. Since I haven't cooked much, I brought along my camera to snap some photos of our dinner.

My dad ordered the Special Taro Nest. The bowl is edible and made from fried taro strips. Inside are veggies and various mock meats in a tasty sauce. It all sits on a bed of watercress. This was definitely one of my favorite dishes when I first visited Grasshopper.

I ordered my current addiction which is called Happy Family. It is asparagus, seitan, and tofu in a "spicy" (not very) chili basil sauce. Unfortunately I can't get enough of this, so I often fail to try a new dish because I go with my standby. Notice how big the portions are! I brought half of that and the brown rice home with me.

When we left, I walked with my dad back to his car and pointed out a relatively new vegan restaurant that is a few stores down from Grasshopper. It is called TJ Scallywaggles. It is vegan comfort food. You'll find subs, pizza, salads, calzones, gyros, pasta, smoothies, and dessert. The food is good and it is pretty safe places to bring your omni friends as they will recognize most items on the menu.

Vegandoc raved about TJ's cheese cake, so I figured I might get a slice to go. While my dad and I talked outside, the owner stepped out to say hi. After my dad left, I went in and ordered the cheese cake and got a chance to talk with the owner some more. What a nice guy! I'm always excited to talk with other veg*n folks. Though I love my omni friends, I often feel like we are on different wavelengths.

At any rate TJ's is owned by people who are very into social responsibility and creating a community. They want build a restaurant concept that can easily be duplicated and is enticing to both veg*ns and omnis while staying true to their ethical beliefs.

While I was there, a gentleman from a veg band stopped in. He had just returned from CA and was telling us about their van which they converted to run on bio-diesel.

Obviously the owners made a great impression on me and I'd like to encourage you to check this restaurant out if you are in the Boston area. Oh, and I agree with Heather...the cheese cake was wonderful.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sweet Claude's

Just a quick post tonight.

While I was at our Connecticut office today, I had to run out at lunch time for some computer supplies. One of the ladies from the office joined me and on the way we drove by Sweet Claude's Ice Cream. I hadn't been to Claude's in well over year, but I noticed that their sign said ice cream and Tofutti on it. That's right Tofutti at an ice cream parlor!

Of course, we had to stop. I got a bowl that was half cookie and half mocha almond. She got half cookie and half chocolate. Both of us preferred the cookie flavor. Anyway, if you happen to find yourself in Cheshire, CT...check out Claude's.

It is a small little ice cream shop with quite a few vegan options. They carry a few flavors of Tofutti and also sorbet. I sent them an email thanking them for the vegan/non dairy options.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Pesto Pasta and Lime in the Coconut...

First, I want to give a quick shout out to a one of my co-workers who just started up her blog called VeggieBake. Michelle started at my company a little over a month ago. I was pretty psyched to have a vegetarian around and I think she was happy to find a someone who could point out all the good lunch spots---the kinds that aren't chains and serve veg friendly foods!

Tonight, I cooked up some more pasta and mixed in the pesto I made yesterday. Tommy gobbled up quite a few pieces of the yummy pasta and this time we were able to hold out long enough to actually snap a photo.

And...behold Dreena's wonderful coconut like cookies. If you have the cookbook, bake these up! Even if you are a chocolate lover like me, you will not be disappointed.

Lastly, I've had a request for more Tommy stories. Tommy is my pet cockatoo. She is a rescued bird. I inherited her from a vet who was caring for her after the owner passed away. Tommy's ankle bracelet shows that she was imported. Though she is wild, I'm not sure she knows that she is a bird. She's grown up with humans all her life and is scared to death of my other little bird Nacho, who wants to be her friend. (Though oddly enough, if I can't get Tommy to eat something and I offer a piece to Nacho, Tommy will immediately try the food she previously eschewed.)

My old roommates had two ferral cats. Tommy was not afraid of these cats and actually loved to terrorize them. She would chase them around the house trying to bite their tails. The funny thing about that is she doesn't usually fly. That means you would see a big white cockatoo walking with her feet turned out (like a penguin) after the cats. If Tommy couldn't find the cats, she would look around the house for them. Tommy knows her own name and she seemed to think that the cats were also named Tommy. She'd wander around looking for the cats, peeking under the furniture and calling, "Tommy, Tommy." At first the cats would come out because they heard what they thought was a human. It only took a few nips from Tommy at their tails for them to ignore her when she called.

Lunchtime Ramblings...

For lunch today, I brought the smoky lentil dip with a layer of chipotle salsa on top. The two were great together with blue corn chips for dipping. I should have snapped a photo of my laptop lunchbox, but I was lazy.

Last night, I also made Dreena's coconut lime cookies. I'm generally a chocolate or peanut butter person, but these cookies are amazingly good. I'll have to take a photo tonight. Of course, I didn't follow the recipe exactly. I had no coconut extract, so I used Malibu coconut rum. Also, I ran out of maple syrup. I subbed brown rice syrup for the remainder of the maple syrup.

My last cookie disaster taught me a lesson. My aluminum free baking powder says to double it in recipes. It has worked fine most of the time, but with Dreena's recipes doubling is not necessary. For now, I'm using the aluminum free as regular and things are ok.

So with substitutions and aluminum free baking powder, I ended up with yummy cookies. Perhaps it was the Malibu rum!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Food Processor Overload

Since I had lunch at Veggie Planet yesterday and I have the owner's cookbook, I pulled that off the shelf today. Fortunately, I found a couple of recipes to try from Entertaining for a Veggie Planet. Tonight, I used the food processor to ready my lunch/snacks for the week. That is important as I will have some traveling to do.

First I made Smoky Red Lentil Spread. It is consists of cooked red lentils, onion, canned chipotles in adobo sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt/pepper. Measure, toss in food processor and enjoy. The spread is very good, though Tommy didn't care for it. I really thought she might because she loves hummus. I may need to try giving her a carrot dipped in it.

Since I had to crack open the can of chipotle peppers, I looked for another recipe that used them. I found Zesty Smoky Cherry Tomato-Oregano Salsa. This was composed of cherry tomatoes, red onion, chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped oregano, lime juice, lime rind, olive oil, and salt/pepper. Measure, process and enjoy. I found this a little too spicy for me, so I had to chop up a few extra tomatoes and add them in. It is great with blue corn chips. I may try it with some vegan cheese and beans for lunch or dinner this week.

Earlier today, I visited with my aunt. She wanted me to take pictures of the new kitten that she adopted from the shelter. His name is Snow. My favorite picture is to the left. Before I went home, my aunt gave me some more fresh basil from her garden. Since the food processor was already out, I made sun dried tomato pesto. The recipe can be found on My pantry had a tiny bit of whole wheat pasta left, so I cooked that up and mixed it with some pesto for dinner. Unfortunately, Tommy and I devoured that before a photo was taken, but here is picture of the pesto.

Lastly, I posted a new thread in the trading forum on vegginout. If you want to get in on a vegan cookie swap this month, please just respond in the thread linked above. We'll pair everyone up and get some cookie trading done!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sesame Green Beans and Lunch at Veggie Planet

Today I went to went to a cool veg restaurant I had been wanting to try called Veggie Planet in Harvard Square. Somehow I found a vegan group at and decided to give it a go. Unfortunately, there were a only a few people, but it made for interesting conversation and I had a tasty lunch.

My lunch was of double header (two pizza slices). One was Vegan Peanut Curry: coconut rice (on or off pizza dough) topped with tofu, broccoli, and Thai red peanut curry sauce. The other was Vegan Oddlot: fresh tomatoes, spinach, basil tofu ricotta, Calamata olives,and fried garlic.

Tonight, I went to a concert at the Tweeter Center. It was Poison! Yup, back to high school and middle school, I guess. The highlight of everyone's night was probably "Every Rose Has Its Thorn". Though the crowd went wild when they played, "Your Mama Don't Dance" and "Nothin' But a Good Time."

Before the show I wasn't hungry because of lunch. When I got home, I was starving. I had some green beans that needed to be used up, so I made Sesame Green Beans from The Healthiest Diet in the World. The are steamed and mixed with sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, and lemon juice. Also on the plate are two (well one and a half) steamed buns. You know I had to eat half, so you could see the filling! I believe the recipe was from Veggie Life. I made them awhile back and froze some. It seemed like a good match so I warmed two up. The filling is shitake mushrooms, scallions, cilantro, tofu and an array of spices that I can't remember!

Oh---Vegan Cookie Monsters... Harmonia set up a trading area on VegginOut. Many of you are already members, so that should be an easy may to organize the cookie swap. Though there is probably no need to say this as you are all pretty smart people, but just in case: Don't post your address on the board. We can exchange addresses via email or personal messages at vegginout. If you don't really "know" the person you are exchanging with you two can always use your work address. Also, if any guys want to get involved...drop me an email. Vegginout is just for the ladies and that is the only caveat with the choice to organize the trading there.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

More Travel...

The past two days I was traveling again to Cheshire, CT and White Plains, NY. Usually when I do this trip for work, I plan my schedule such that I can make it to Whole Foods in NY before checking into the hotel. That allows me to pick up my dinner and then breakfast/lunch for the following day. I also brought my camera, so that I could take a photo of my dinner.

Unfortunately, no part of this plan worked out. When I got to Cheshire and tried to charge up my camera, I found I brought the wrong charger. That meant no photos for you folks. Then I found that I had quite a few packages waiting for me in the office. All were parts that needed to be installed in our server room in CT. That meant a long night. One of the other system engineers worked with me on the phone to help get everything installed and setup and then I headed out to NY at 8:30. I knew Whole Foods would be closed when I got there, so I headed straight to the hotel. My lunch/dinner consisted of a sad showing: almonds, a lara bar, and pretzels.

This morning at Whole Foods, I picked up plenty of good stuff. I purchased some fresh pineapple for breakfast. The salad bar has some interesting new salads. One was tomatoes, olives, hearts of palm, arugula, and vegan soy chicken. Another was corn, black beans, jalapenos, veggies and vegan soy chicken. I made a lunch combo of those two with sesame broccoli and wheatberry salad.

BTW - I love hearts of palm!

Driving back tonight was pretty bad. It was 102 degrees when I left NY. At some point about 1.5 hours into my commute, I drove straight into a crazy thunderstorm and the temperature dropped to 73 degrees! I don't think I have ever driven through rain this bad before. The lightening was so close that I jumped sometimes when I heard the thunder booming. Since I was going 40 mph or less a lot of the time, the 3+ hour trip actually took 6. I did see some pretty spectacular lightening, but I'm not sure the trade off was worth it. The weather caused the Prius to get poor gas mileage. it only got 49 mpg, LOL.

Last thing, one of my co-workers wants to try a vegan lunch somewhere in White Plains. Though I hadn't planned on going back for at least 2 more weeks, I will likely need to be in White Plains next week for some server work. Anyone out there know of a good vegan restaurant that is in/near White Plains?

I promise some food pics soon!

Blogger spell check strikes again. Tonight it tried to change arugula into archly or arousal!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tofu Chocolate Mousse Pie

Here's another quick post. I've been pretty swamped at home and work, so not much cooking.

I stumbled on the Gourmet Sleuth website the other day. Though it is not really a veg friendly site, they published an article/recipe for Chocolate Mousse Pie with Chocolate Crumb Crust.

One very interesting thing about this article is that they compare the nutritional information of the Tofu Chocolate Mousse pie to a regular Chocolate Mousse pie. Guess which one is healthier...I know, no surprise there. It is pretty cool to see the difference portrayed in an easy to read table on their site though.

Scroll down towards the end of the article to see that. The recipe looks good and I may give it a try soon.