Fig Apple Compote

So many figs! I made a fig pie, which was pretty good, and we actually tried our hand at canning fig jam (see photos below). The result was yummy, though quite the effort and a bit sweet (so much sugar!), so I wanted to try something different, even if it meant filling my freezer instead of my pantry. I also have some apples to use up, and wondered if they might go together well. So I googled "fig apple sauce" and found several recipes for compotes. Here's my adaptation of what I found - and it was delicious! Not too sweet, and the mix of fruits is nice. I bet this (uncooked) would also make a great pie filling. Hm..... :)Ingredients15 fresh figs (roughly)
2 large apples
Juice from 1-2 lemons
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon InstructionsChop figs and apples in relatively small pieces. Mix together in a large saucepan with lemon, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Let sit for an hour or two (optional). Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn off heat, c…

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I've made half a dozen fruit pies in the past few weeks because of our prolific pear tree. I usually mix blackberries with the pears, because we have to use those up, too. But recently, for something different, I mixed strawberries with the pears, and it was delicious. Color-wise, it reminded me of the rhubarb pie we loved as kids; Mom made it from wild rhubarb we picked from patches near the corn crib. (Rhubarb pie is a big deal in Nebraska.) She made it straight -- all rhubarb -- but I decided to look for recipes with strawberries, so I wouldn't have to add a ton of sugar (rhubarb is pretty tart). I gave the following a try, and it was amazing! It's different enough from my other fruit pies that it earns its own post. Serve this with (vegan) vanilla ice cream.  Ingredients 3 C strawberries, fresh or frozen 2 stalks rhubarb, chopped (about 2-3 cups)
2 T flour 2 T arrowroot or cornstarch
1/3 C brown sugar 1/3 C granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 T orange juice
2 deep-dish vegan pie cr…

Blueberry Bran Muffins

Oh my, these are delicious and healthy. This recipe is adapted from my favorite Isa Does It cookbook to use slightly less sugar and a couple other small tweaks. This makes a dozen; consider doubling so you can freeze some! You'll eat a dozen way too quickly.Ingredients Dry:
1 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 C wheat bran
1/3 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp saltWet:
1 C almond milk
1 T apple cider
1/4 C canola oil
1/4 C applesauce
2 T molasses
1 T maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla1 C blueberries (fresh or frozen; I like small wild frozen)InstructionsIn a medium bowl, combine almond milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.Preheat oven to 350.Mix dry ingredients. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients in the well, and then mix the wet and dry together until just moistened, being careful not to over mix.  Fold in blueberries.Lightly butter 12-cup muffin pan. Fill each muffin well most of the way full with batter. Bake for 22-28 minutes…

Celery Black Pepper Tempeh

I came home from Nebraska to a couple of bunches of celery in the fridge that needed to be used. I slightly adapted this celery black pepper tofu recipe from Vegan Richa and it was pretty good! Definitely pretty different from my other stir fry creations, and Larry liked it. Next time (as reflected in the instructions below) I'll use a little more tempeh and/or little less celery, and chop up the tempeh into slightly smaller chunks.
Update: Larry's sister Cyndy told us that she served this with butternut squash soup on the side, and Jeff poured his serving right into the soup, and it was delicious! Cyndy also suggested that the marinade needed more liquid, so I increased the water from 2 tsp to 2 T below.
Ingredients 1.5 C tempeh or firm tofu, cubed in fairly small chunks
Batter: 3 tsp soy sauce 2 T water 1/4 tsp garlic powder 1/4 tsp black pepper 3 T cornstarch or arrowroot
Saute: 1 tsp oil 8 cloves garlic, chopped 1 inch ginger, finely chopped 1 red chile 2 C celery, chopped (1 head) 1/4 on…

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I needed some cookies to fill the empty space in a box I'm mailing to Dad, and I've had these cookies by Vegan Richa on my list for awhile to try. I actually made some "regular" chocolate chips cookies (very similar except with vegan butter, a flax egg, and no oats) at the same time so I could compare the two, and these were much better! Here's a very slightly adapted version. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.Ingredients Dry: 3/4 C old fashioned oats 3/4 C flour 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt
Wet: 1/2 C almond or peanut butter 1/3 C brown sugar (1/2 C for sweeter) 2 T (or more as needed) non dairy milk  1 tsp vanilla 
1/3 C chocolate chips (1/2 C for more chocolatey) InstructionsPreheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the wet ingredients together until smooth.  Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the wet and dry together and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips. 
Roll into balls and place on baking sheet with silicon liner. Press each ball down slightly to flatten. 
Bake at 350 F …

Japanese Spinach Salad (Gomae)

Larry has fond memories of cold spinach salad in Japan. We compared several recipes, and did a mix of several (from salu salofine cookingiheartumami,  and bon appetit - seriously, you used frozen spinach?). Serve with Larry's miso soup and TJ's yakisoba! Note that I originally tried 3 T sesame seeds, 3 T soy sauce, 1.5 T rice vinegar, and a little sesame oil, but the dressing was too strong. Then I reduced it 2/3 (2 T sesame, 2T soy, etc.) and it was still too strong for us. The following pares it back even more because we like it mild so the spinach taste comes across; increase if you like it stronger.Ingredients2 lbs fresh spinach (2 bunches or 1 Costco box) Salt (for boiling water)
Dressing (mild version) 4 tsp sesame seeds  2 tsp rice vinegar (or rice wine or sherry) 4 tsp soy sauce 1 1/2 tsp sugar  InstructionsPrepare spinach 30 minutes to 3 hours ahead: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil add a pinch of salt. Add spinach to boiling water and cook for one minute. Dra…

White Wine Risotto with Mushrooms and Zucchini

Alba clamshell mushrooms and fresh zucchini arrived in our last farmer's market delivery, and Viki left a nice bottle of white wine with us, and we still had a little arborio rice from John & Wanda's visit last year when they made us a delicious farmer's market risotto... So, with the help of my Isa Does It cookbook, I decided to try my first risotto -- and it was delish!  Ingredients 1-2 T canola oil 1 or 2 fresh zucchinis 4-8 oz mushrooms 1/3 C sun dried tomatoes 1/3 C peas
1 onion, diced 3 cloves garlic, minced 1.5 C arborio rice 1.5 C white wine 4 C broth1 tsp thyme several dashes fresh black pepper 1/2 tsp salt

2 T fresh lemon juice 1/2 C cashew cream (can mix cashew butter + water, or 1/2 cup soaked cashews blended) InstructionsPrecook veggies: Saute zucchini in oil, and add mushrooms after a few minutes. Remove and set aside in a bowl.
Saute the onions in oil with a pinch of salt until translucent, 4-5 minutes, over medium heat. Mix in the garlic and thyme and saute for 1 more m…

Viki's Carrot Greens Chimichurri

Viki brought her adaptation of a carrot-top chimichurri to our outdoor distance gathering, and I fell in love with it! The tang and garlic are amazing on bread, or as a salad dressing (see Viki's salad, below). I made a pesto with carrot tops a couple of months ago and it was meh... After that, I just ended up throwing carrot tops in soup (it was great in split pea soup). But next time I get farmer's market carrots, I'm definitely making this! Ingredients1 C finely chopped carrot greens 2 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp cumin 1/2 tsp sweet paprika (that is, regular, not smoked) 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 2 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 tsp sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 2 T rice vinegar 2 T red wine vinegar 1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil InstructionsIn a small bowl, combine the carrot greens, oregano, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir in the vinegar and olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Fried Chickn Salad

I ordered some soy curls awhile back (vegan protein was hard to find early in the pandemic), and tried this vegan fried (except I baked them) "chicken" soy curl salad. It was quite good! I threw in some cauliflower when I made this, and it worked pretty well, too. Slightly modified, below, based on what I had handy. Will make this again! Ingredients1 1/2 C soy curls (or try cauliflower) 2 cups hot water 1 1/2 tsp no-chicken bouillon 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Coating: 2 T cornmeal 2 T whole wheat flour 1 T nutritional yeast 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp dried basil 1 tsp dried oregano 1/2 tsp thyme 1/2 tsp black pepper 1 tsp smoked paprika 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp salt 1 T plain non-dairy yogurt (or 2 1/2 tsp non-dairy milk and 1/2 tsp lemon juice)
Salad: Lettuce and a mix of veggies, like: Tomatoes Cucumber Radish Carrots Sprouts Bell pepper Olives
Ranch dressing: 3 T vegan mayo 1 T non-dairy milk 2 tsp vinegar 1 tsp poppy seed a few chives, chopped 1 tsp dill Instru…


Every year we have so many oranges! They're more difficult to give away this year given COVID... we give to a few neighbors and friends, but I can't take them to the office and hand them out like in past years. An abundance of pears lead to ginger pear sauce and too many fingers led to candied buddha's hands... so doh, why not try my hand at marmalade? After skimming several recipes on the web, I decided to adapt this orange lemon marmalade recipe slightly to use less sugar and more oranges. It's just a little tart, and really delicious! The neighbors loved it. One request from Kurt & Pete: Cut the rinds into even smaller pieces. Ingredients5-6 oranges rinds from another 2-3 oranges rinds from 2 lemons 1 lime (all of it if it's small, or just rinds) 8 C water 6 C sugar InstructionsWash the oranges and lemons well and cut off any bad parts. Thinly slice and throw in a big pot. Eat a few oranges after you cut off the ends because they are so delicious. Realize you'v…

Vegetable Biryani

Munira gave me a huge bag of dry rice, and I decided to try to make a biryani in the Instant Pot, somewhat like this recipe from Piping Pot Curry. It was pretty easy and good!  The recipe below is slightly updated with some ideas from Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen, and more veggies and cashews. It was nice to have just one pot to clean at the end. IngredientsMake vegetable mix and set aside: 1 large potato, chopped 2 C cauliflower, chopped  1/2 C carrots, chopped 1 C broccoli, chopped 1/2 C geen peas 3/4 C nondairy yogurt or cashew cream + 1 tsp vinegar 2 T green chutney or 2 T each cilantro and mint leaves 2 tsp biryani or garam masala blend 1/2 tsp turmeric 1-2 tsp salt
Saute in Instant Pot: 1 onion, chopped 1 small jalapeno pepper, diced 2 tsp cumin seeds 1 1-inch knob ginger, minced 4 cloves garlic, chopped 4 cardamom pods 1 cinnamon stick 2 cloves or 1/4 tsp powder 1 bay leaf
4 T raw cashews 1.5 C rice  2 C water InstructionsChop up the vegetables and toss together into a large bowl. In a small bowl, …

Masala Dabba

Munira brought back a masala dabba for me from India. So exciting! The next morning I filled it with some of the spices I use the most, and drew a key to help me remember what is what. It was SO fun to use it to make my Pav Bhaji this weekend. I need to make Aloo Patta Gobhi next.
Thank you SO much, Munira!

Larry's Miso Soup

Larry put Japanese miso powder on his Christmas wish list; he wanted powder since paste can go bad if you don't use it up quickly. Good thing, since we just opened the jar today, 5 months later! He made up a quick recipe using our roasted seaweed snacks, some silken tofu in the pantry, and chives from our garden. It was super fast and delicious. Serve with spinach salad and yakisoba! Ingredients1 T miso powder (we like marukome from Japan) 1-2 roasted seaweed, cut up 1/4 cup tofu, cubed 1 T chives, chopped 1.5 C hot water InstructionsCut up tofu into cubes and toss into soup bowls. Using a scissors, cut up chives and seaweed over each bowl. Add miso powder to the bowls. 
Put water in a kettle and heat it up to boil. Pour hot water in the bowls. Stir and serve!
Larry says that in Japan, on often eats it by slurping from the side of the bowl, stirring as you slurp. 

Mushroom Leek Quiche with Red Pepper Relish

Our neighbor Elsa gave us 4 beautiful fresh leeks from her garden. I had been planning to make my chickpea tart, but then I found a mushroom leek quiche in Vegan Comfort Classics that looked worth a try! Here's my slightly adapted version. Oh, the red pepper relish is amazing on crackers or anything else you might serve a chutney with. If you have time for nothing else, make the relish!

5/1/20 Update: The second time I made this it was EVEN BETTER. Our garden was overflowing in chives, so I used 3 cups of chives, 2 zucchinis, and 1 cup mushrooms ('cause that's what I had; oh, and fresh sage from the garden). For the relish, I used red pepper and red onion. (The zucchini & pepper was from our new organic farm delivery service). OMG yum. Larry said it was stupendous!

Ingredients 1 whole wheat pie crust (purchase or make)

Veggie saute:
2 T canola oil
3 C leeks OR chives, sliced
1-2 C mushrooms, sliced
2 C zucchini or broccoli, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt

Spiced Roti

Our friend Judy shared this roti for two recipe with us, which just uses flour and water, and is very good! Munira adds some spice to her roti, and luckily, she shared her secrets with me in Whatsapp. I also searched to see what other spices people use in rot. So I've adapted the recipe (below) to include some optional spicing :)
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
3/4 C water
1/2 tsp salt

optional spices (mix and match)
1 tsp cumin seeds or 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp roasted flax seeds of flax meal
1/2 tsp garam masala (or other curry powder)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp fenugreek (if not using leaves, below)
2 T fenugreek leaves or cilantro leaves
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
Instructions In a large bowl, mix the flour and optional spices/leaves of your choices. Add 2/3 cup water and see how wet your dough is; add water until you get pizza dough consistency (don't want it too gummy). Knead a bit. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough…