Heart Smart Cooking

Love and Let Live: Pride Party Food

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
Roasted Potato Salad

Roasted Potato Salad

In support of the big veg outreach effort happening at SF Pride this year, Drew and Jeff hosted a Pride Veg Outreach Party at their home last month.

Chef Jeff made some fabulous food, including bruchettas, roasted potato salad, pasta with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, quinoa artichoke salad, Moroccan couscous salad, cupcakes, cookies, and dips.

After eating, we all wanted his secret recipes.  He modestly said there wasn’t any secret at all, that he just found them on the web. Ah, but that is the secret, isn’t it — finding a good recipe out of the gazillions that exist.

Drew and Chef Jeff

Drew and Chef Jeff

Chef Jeff was gracious enough to share a couple of these recipes with us.  He also added that the roasted potato salad is just mixed potatoes roasted with onions and bell peppers with fresh herbs.

We hope you enjoy these dishes as much as we did, and thanks again to Drew and Jeff and their co-hosts, canines Reggie, Mindy, and Theo, for hosting the fabulous party for Pride outreach volunteers.

Even if you missed the party, there’s still time to get involved with veg outreach at Pride.  Remember, love and let live.


Quinoa Artichoke Salad

Quinoa Artichoke Salad

Quinoa Artichoke Salad

This recipe is very flexible and forgiving; feel free to add other ingredients you like or leave things out that you don’t care for.

1 cup quinoa
½ cup red quinoa
2 Tbsp. tahini
2 Tbsp. almond butter
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
4 large artichoke hearts in oil (chopped into small pieces)
1 small red onion
4 green onions, chopped finely
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ¼” pieces
½ cup pitted kalmata or other olives, chopped finely
1 Fuji  apple (seeded and core removed, and cut into ¼” chunks)
2 Roma tomatoes (seeded and cut into ¼” pieces)
handful of chopped cashew nuts
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook both types of quinoa in approx. 2 cups water.  Allow to cool slightly.  Mix tahini, almond butter, and balsamic vinegars.  Dilute with a bit of warm water if very thick.  Stir this mixture into the warm quinoa.  Add artichoke hearts, onion, green onion, red bell pepper, olives, apple and tomato.  Check seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.  Sprinkle cashews over salad when ready to serve.

Adapted from recipe “Quinoa Artichoke “Special Mix” from vegweb.com.



Moroccan Couscous Salad

Moroccan Couscous Salad

Moroccan Cous Cous Salad

3 cups cooked Couscous.
I medium yellow or white onion, chopped finely
4 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground coriander
Pinch of saffron (optional)
¾ cup white wine
¾ cup dried currants
4 chopped green onions
½ cup toasted blanched almond pieces

To make couscous: Bring 1 2/3 cup water to boil in wide pan with ½ tsp. salt.  Add 1 1/3 cup dry couscous. Immediately turn off heat.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Fluff with fork.

Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium high heat.  Add onion and cook approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Lower heat to medium if onions start to scorch.  Add cinnamon and coriander; stir approximately one additional minute.  Add white wine and saffron; cook over medium high heat until wine is reduced by half.  Add currants and cook an additional minute.  Add this mixture to the warm couscous.  Add green onions and almonds.  Serve at room temperature.

Mother’s Day Salute

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Happy Mother’s Day! And that goes out to everyone who nurtures, loves and cares for someone small. BAV has some really cool parents on the list, raising veg kids, and we’ve also got countless folks who love and care for rescued dogs, cats, rats, birds, cows, chickens, and pigs. So Happy Mom Day to everyone from Bay Area Veg!

Mother’s Day seems to revolve around a big breakfast, and that just doesn’t work for me. Old fashioned breakfasts are made from lots of eggs and milk. Eggs and milk come from mother cows and mother chickens. It’s the food their bodies create for their babies, but we take it away to give ourselves heart disease and cancer. Could anything be LESS celebratory of Mother’s Day?!?

This year, try some vegan goodies for your mom (or for yourself, if all your “kids” are furry and can’t be trusted to use the stove).

Pancakes are always a winner. The following recipe is for the classic, blueberry pancakes, and they’re pretty hard to mess up. Serve with vegan butter (Earth Balance), maple syrup, sliced fruit (grill it if you want to be really fancy!), and some strong coffee or tea with Silk soy creamer. Add a side of vegan mock “bacon” that you buy at the store, or make your own (recipe below).

If your mom prefers savory, try this recipe for breakfast burritos:

And if your mom is a runner, like mine, give her some more carbs! Try a heaping plate of hashbrowns with tofu scramble. Recipes below, and don’t forget the ketchup and Tabasco sauce!

Last but not least, I wanted to share a great local resource with you. 101 Cookbooks is an award-winning recipe blog written by San Francisco native Heidi Swanson. I *love* her vegan recipes. The site is veg, heavily vegan, with gorgeous photographs and idea. Here is a yummy-sounding cookie recipe that I’m going to make for my mom. It’s worth 10 minutes of your time to browse through Heidi’s vegan recipes. You’ll be inspired.

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day Weekend!

Blueberry Pancakes
Better Than Bacon
Hashbrowns
Tofu Scramble

Read the rest of this entry »

Healthy and Cheap Breakfasts

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Running season, swimsuit season, lettuce-bikini season. It’s all about to start. This is the time to incorporate some healthy eating habits. Don’t starve yourself—that can confuse your body and make it harder to lose weight. If you’re hungry all the time you’re not enjoying life, and you’re more likely to give in to some junk food.

For me, Team Vegan is about to start up again (April 26: mark your calendars now!), so it’s time to think about food as fuel. This year our team will train together for 13 weeks to run either a 5k (3 miles), a Half Marathon (13.1 miles) or a Marathon (26.2 miles!). Crazy, I know, but with the right food you can run 100 miles!*

Fill up on good vegan food. A big bowl of oatmeal in the morning contains very few calories, is naturally vegan and free of cholesterol, and you’ll be too full to nibble on Krispy Kremes. Doesn’t hurt that it’s cheap, too! When you buy oats instead of coffee-shop sugar-bomb muffins, you’ll have extra money to sponsor a Team Vegan runner. Sweet!

I love my oats during the week. But let’s face it: we can’t be all good, all the time. Sometimes it’s fun to splurge a bit on a Sunday morning. Below is a link to a great French toast recipes, and my recipe for tofu scramble. Both recipes are yummy enough for breakfast in bed, but still healthier (and cheaper) than hitting your local greasy spoon.

Read the rest of this entry »

Eat Your Carrots: Carrot-Walnut Cake and Carrot-Red Lentil Soup

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

I had a craving for carrot cake last week, so I pulled up this recipe. It looked a little boring, but I figured it couldn’t be that bad…and I was in a hurry.

I decided to double it so I could bring one cake to the office and keep one at home to score points with the honey. I purchased twice the amount of carrots, and grated them in my food processor. Unfortunately, I did not purchase twice the other ingredients! The result? Keep reading for a carrot and lentil soup recipe. Read the rest of this entry »

Vegan Holiday Food

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Vegan holiday food is actually some of the easiest and tastiest food you can make (or buy). Below are recipes for holiday winter squash, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Cranberry sauce, green beans, salads, sweet potatoes…all the other favorites are already vegan, or so close you won’t need a recipe (Annie’s Goddess dressing instead of the tired old ranch dressing, green beans cooked in veg stock instead of chicken stock, etc).

The main dish is the big question. Tofurky? Field Roast? A big stuffed squash? That’s up to you and your personal tastes. My favorite Thanksgiving involved a six hour hike up a snowy mountain, followed by a feast of latkes (potato pancakes) with apple sauce and vegan sour cream. 3 carefully-chosen people and 7 dogs who were not actually carefully-chosen, being rescues, but they were well-loved. That holiday was so easy, and so fun—none of the stress, misery, heart attacks and animal suffering I was used to—that it set the tone and I haven’t celebrated a “traditional” Thanksgiving since.

If you’re celebrating with a crowd, try to arrange one of each centerpiece foods (Tofurky, Field Roast, stuffed pumpkin). Have a taste test and then you’ll know what you like in the future.

Plan ahead–read through these recipes and check out www.vegcooking.com for a huge new Thanksgiving food feature.  Don’t wait until the week before the holiday–the more you plan, the more you’ll enjoy this holiday of delicious food, friends and family!

Holiday Winter Squash
Mashed Potatoes
Cashew Gravy
Cornbread and Pecan Stuffing
Pumpkin Patch “Cheesecake”

Read the rest of this entry »

Vegan Weddings Are Here to Stay

Monday, September 1st, 2008

If you’re vegan, you might worry that attending a traditional wedding in the Midwest would create an eating challenge for you.  You would pack your trail mix and energy bars, and practice your answers to the never-ending questions:  “Have you tried the roast beef?” “Why aren’t you eating?”  “Oh, can’t you just relax this one day?  There’s a chicken dish—that’s vegetarian!”

Well, you might actually be able to relax.  I was lucky enough to attend one of those traditional Midwestern weddings yesterday, and I didn’t bring so much as a single peanut. Read the rest of this entry »

Feed Your Friends Well

Monday, August 11th, 2008

This month’s recipes are dedicated to the most amazing Cindy and Tom of Granite Falls, WA.  They made the following recipes while I was visiting last week.  Incredibly gracious and generous hosts, I mention them here for BAV because they often host meat-eaters and use food as veg-conversion tools.

Cindy and Tom set the standard for effective advocacy.  They are positive and fun, active and glowing with health, and oh my can they cook.  They make it hard for meat-eaters to not like veganism!  They spend a lot of time and money feeding their non-veg acquaintances mouth-watering meals, and they’re just as generous when a hungry activist comes knocking.

When I first got to their house, they made fresh veg BLT’s and orange creamsicle drinks.  The BLT’s you can imagine—just use vegan mayo and your favorite faux bacon.  The drink deserves a recipe, and I have it here, but keep in mind these measurements are only guidelines.  Please taste and adjust to your own taste buds.

Read the rest of this entry »

Old Bay Tofu “Crab” Cakes

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Recently I had the honor of making dinner for the #1 top fundraiser for Team Vegan, Nancy, and 5 of her close friends. First prize was a gourmet vegan dinner for 6, including dishes! Nancy raised $3,025 to create more vegetarians, so it was an honor (and a blast) to cook for her.

Read the rest of this entry »

Whole Grains and Beans

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Whole grains. Nonfat. Cheap. Easy to make. Any recipe with those adjectives is bound to also be…boring. Right? Wrong. Healthy recipes can be boring, no doubt about it, but they don’t have to be. If you have any recipes that you force yourself to make and eat because they’re good for you, rip them up and use them to make a piñata (which might taste better than the recipe).

When we eat or serve boring food, we’re doing more harm than good. If our friends eat our boring vegan food they get nervous about the whole vegan thing and become more resistant to hearing about animal suffering. Who wants to go from BBQ burgers and chocolate cake to unseasoned brown rice and carob bars? That’s a terrifying idea to a carnivore and he’ll resist the message in order to protect himself from bad food.

Give a carnivore a delicious vegan meal, though, and watch those mental brick walls crumble.

Below are two super-easy recipes that fit the bill.

Mushroom Barley Soup
Curried Red Lentil and Cauliflower Salad

Read the rest of this entry »

Simple and Soupful

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

February 17th is National PTA Founders Day. When I first saw it I thought it was National PETA Founders Day and I got really excited! Oh well. I’m sure the PTA people were (are?) great in their own way.

February is National Wedding Month, National Time Management Month, National Cherry Pie Month and International Boost Self Esteem Month!

What does that all add up to? Soup!

Soup is always satisfying. It’s healthy—and love is hard without health. It’s excellent for time management—throw a bunch of yummy stuff in a pot, catch up on e-mail while it’s simmering, serve and enjoy. It’s also hard to mess up so if you’re a nervous cook, a pot of soup can give you that confidence boost.

Most people are thinking of complicated, gourmet meals this month for Valentine’s Day. All the restaurants have special dinners for $100 a pop and the cooking blogs are posting dishes that take three days to make. I believe all that stress, shopping, and prepping leads to couples fighting, not couples loving, and filling up on rich exotic ingredients will most likely just make you want to go to sleep so your body can digest in peace.

About this time last year I was busy cooking fussy meals for a local hunk. They did OK—I mean, he didn’t run away or anything–but it was a pot of simple minestrone that finally made him mine (and cherry pie).

Here are two rich and delicious soups that are easy as pie, great on cold winter nights, yet slightly “special” for a romantic evening, and the pie, too.

Lemon Corn Soup
Mushroom Soup
Cherry Pie

Read the rest of this entry »