Friday, October 30, 2009

Ummmm...smell that warm, rich Tempeh Bourgignon....

I can remember during the winter months as a kid walking in the door after school and sometimes the house would be filled with a warm and lovely fragrance of something good cooking in our crockpot. That smell was one that filled my house up last night but I was cooking in my big cast-iron stew pot. I have been looking for more tempeh recipes and I found this one on the Vegetarian Times website and right away I knew this is what would satisfy because 1)it's been getting really really chilly here and 2) the tempeh marinates in a wine and would take on that lovely rich flavor. Tempeh has a different taste to it that takes getting used to. It took me a while to get used to it and now I love it. The rest of the family is still getting used to it and I have to tell you what a great recipe this is to use it in. Try this one on those carnivores out there. This is a real rich stew that hits the spot and makes you all warm inside and it is pretty rich so you can only eat so much. I served this with some drop biscuits using sorghum and whole wheat flour. Oh one more thing you could even use seitan instead.

Below is the recipe and in parentheses are my additions/changes.

Tempeh Bourgignon
Vegetarian Times Issue: November 1, 2006 p.83 — Member Rating:

This recipe will satisfy your soul with its umami-rich ingredients. Umami is the recently discovered fifth taste—after sweet, bitter, salty and sour—and comes from glutamate and other taste-bud-stimulating compounds found in food. Shiitake mushrooms, tempeh, tomato paste and carrots all have naturally occurring glutamate, making this updated classic a taste sensation.

Ingredient List
Serves 4

2 cups medium-bodied red wine, such as Pinot Noir (Merlot)
1 8-oz. pkg. tempeh, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small onion, chopped (1 lg onion)
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (3 carrots)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (about 1 Tbs.)
3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tsp. herbes de Provence *(recipe below)
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. tomato paste
7 oz. sliced shiitake mushrooms (I used 8 oz. baby bellas)
chopped parsley, for garnish
(5 medium potatoes, diced 3/4 inch chunks)


Combine wine, tempeh, onion, carrot, garlic, 1 Tbs. olive oil, herbes de Provence and bay leaf in large bowl. Cover, and refrigerate 1 hour or more.

Preheat oven to 425. Peel potatoes and dice into large chunks. Toss with olive oil, 1/2 tsp herbes du provence and salt. Pour into large casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake until potatoes are almost done then take off cover to brown for about 5 or so more minutes. Take out of oven when done and set aside.

Strain vegetables and tempeh, and reserve wine.

Heat remaining oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add tempeh and vegetables, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until tempeh cubes are browned on all sides. Add vinegar, and quickly stir to coat evenly. Add tomato paste, and cook 1 minute. Stir in red wine marinade, scraping bottom of pot to release any stuck brown bits. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes, or until carrots are tender, stirring occasionally. Add water if mixture seems too dry before carrots are fully cooked.

Add mushrooms and 3/4 cup water,( I used veggie broth) and simmer 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve over rice.(I added the potatoes into the stew and cooked for like 5 more min.)

Nutritional Information
Per SERVING: Calories: 269, Protein: 14g, Total fat: 13g, Saturated fat: 2g, Carbs: 24g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 338mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugars: 9g

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cruelty Free Sheppard's Pie

What a treat this actually was. This turned out so tasty I couldn't stop eating it. Maybe it was the mashed potatoes, I just can't put a stop to eating those mashed potatoes! Sheppherds Pie, it's not just about dumping ingredients into a casserole dish and then topping them off with potatoes, it has to be tasty! This is my recipe for a warm and tasty pie!

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil or more
1 Large Onion, finely diced
3 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped or minced
*8 oz. package Veggie Crumbles
2 1/4 C. cooked lentils
3/4 tsp dried Rosemary, crushed
1 tsp. dried thyme
8 oz. pack crimini or baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 1/2 T.Arrowroot Powder or cornstartch
1 cup or more frozen green peas
Salt & Pepper to taste
About 4 Large (Russet) Potatoes & 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
Non-dairy milk and Earth Balance or olive oil for mashing.

Preheat oven to 350.
In a med-large pot boil potatoes, drain and mash as you do for mashed potatoes.
In a large cast iron pan or sauce/stockpot heat oil and add the chopped onion. Stir the onion frequently until it is soft add garlic and stir for a minute or so more. Next add the veggie crumbles, herbs and mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are soft and cooked. Stir in lentils and cook until combined. Next add vegetable stock mixed with arrowroot or cornstarch, heat to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cook for another 15 minutes. Stir in frozen peas and finish off by adding salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble, use a deep medium sized casserole dish. Pour in the filling and top of with spoonfuls of mashed potatoes and smooth out with a spatula. Cover and heat in the oven for about 20 – 30 minutes at this time it should be bubbling around the edges. Take cover off and let the top brown a bit for 10-15 minutes.
*You can also eliminate veggie crumbles and use more lentils and mushrooms.

Monday, October 19, 2009

spicy, sweet and crunchy

I'm loving all of the squash available right now. Yum......! Not the greatest pic but I made the Southwestern Corn Pudding from VCON and I decide to fill half an acorn squash with half the mixture and them bake. Oh it was so good!

To complete the creamy corn pudding, I made the cornmeal crusted tofu from VCON as well. For the spices in the cornmeal coating I used a creole spice so it had a real nice kick to it. Any leftover tofu from this makes a great sandwich the next day.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Squash season has arrived!

It's that time of the year when the wonderful sweet tasting squash's are a plenty. The other night I made a wonderful lentil loaf with acorn squash and served with a sweet potato gravy but forgot to take a picture of it. Oh well, next time.
For lunch the next day I used what I had left of acorn squash and heated it up a bit and threw it on a bed of mixed greens, pecans and cranberries. Drizzled with a balsamic vinegrette. Wallah!

I know this looks kind of a mess, I used a spatula that was too small and so it broke apart as I was getting out of the casserole pan. This is a spinach and white bean enchilada which I have made many times, the fam loves it and it's so easy to make. This was served with a side of butternut squash and yukon gold potato, roasted with olive oil, oregano and salt.
More useage of squash to come!

Monday, October 12, 2009

An article in NY Times....and ramblings.

An interesting article I stumbled upon from the NY Times which you can read here. It's a story by Jonathan Safran Foer and he tells of his family and how he grew up viewing animals as a child and how it changed as he got older.

Now here are my ramblings because I need to vent. I just don't know why people don't stop to think about the animals. I know most of us have grown up with eating animals and it seemed the norm. Is it though? We link holidays and family gatherings around eating these dead animals. Why can't everyone change the way they view them and start new traditions and new connections. A more peaceful connection to the earth, animals and people.

Almost everyday I see so many cows roaming the hills, SO MANY cows, and it makes me think of how many more are being raised on factory farms. Even though these cows out here are roaming freely and they are able to nurse their young and keep them by their sides. Someday they will end up being slaughtered as well. They will feel the fear of death. Is it better to eat these animals just because they live a happier life or are "grass fed" or "free range" ? Does it make people feel less guilty if they purchase these animals to eat? These animals have all of the senses that we have. Would we even consider eating a dog or cat? Maybe in some countries but here we don't, we wouldn't even think of doing such a thing! These cows have personalities just like cats and dogs. If you just take the time to sit and watch cows, it's pretty amazing. You can watch the calves play with each other and then look and see another one scratching his side against a tree while a line waits their turn(I've seen this and it was too funny and cute).

Oh one more thing, sorry so lengthy, I was flipping through the channels yesterday and stopped at Paula Deen's Party on the food network. Her guest was making some kind of creole dish and what he said truly upset me. He tried to make a joke saying the difference between a regular zoo and a New Orleans zoo. The New Orleans zoo not only has the name of the animal on the cage and where it's from but a recipe is listed also. Wow, did the audience laugh and get a kick out of that one. Where was the compassion and feeling there? None! Alright I guess I'm done for now and thanks for letting me ramble.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Update on Farm Walk and stuff!

Cool T-shirt eh? This was the awesome shirt we got this year for Farm Walk 2009 designed by Herbivore Clothing . FYI, you can still donate to the farm walk, they are keeping it open for a couple more weeks because there are still walks going on around the country.

Quick post regarding The Farm Walk in Ventura. The weather was perfect! The guest speaker who also did the walk with us was Julieanna Hever, she is a fitness and plant based nutritionist, her website is She is awesome, full of life and energy! My son and I met some new people and we all had a great time. There were people of every age from small ones to seniors. It's really nice speaking to like minded people and sharing stories. What a positive and peaceful vibe that is spread and you walk away from it feeling really good.
I'm going to try to get some photo's to post from Melissa who hosted the Farm Walk this year. I downloaded the pic's from my camera but we've been having computer issues and my husband was working on the computer. Sooooooooo he didn't save the pictures so I have none.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Walk for Farm Animals-Oct. 3rd! Donate or walk!

This Saturday, Oct. 3rd in Ventura, my son and I, along with a couple of my girlfriends, are going to Walk for Farm Animals! One year we had my husband walking with us but he has to work this weekend. Last year we were unable to join in the walk because of our move but we still were able to make a donation online. If you get a chance to do a walk, it's a great experience and if there isn't a walk near you, another great way to help out is to donate. You can click on the widget for Firstgiving on the upper right corner of this blog page and make a donation.
The donations help the Farm Sanctuary give care to the saved animals and also to spread the word about the cruelty to animals.