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Shall I start blogging again? Today at least. I’m not sure it’s something I can ever sustain as regularly as I once did. These days all I care about is: Cooking. Babies. Puppies. Humor.

To that end, here is a recipe for a soup I invented last night, which is now one of his favorite dishes.

Curried Chicken and Dumplings 

He is from Trinidad, where curry is the national dish. That and roti (see roti pic several posts below). Roti is a lot of work and a lot of mess and a lot of cleanup, though, so I do not make it nearly as often as he’d like. But curry is not so much trouble. And last night I had a pack of chicken drumsticks I needed to use, and thought of chicken soup. There is nothing easier than dropping some chicken, onion, and other veggies into a big pot with some water and letting it boil away. But to make it a little bit special, and a little more like home for him, I added curry and some cornmeal dumplings, as well as a bit of green seasoning as a topping. After two bites, and a bowl still full, he exclaimed, “I’m going to need more of this!”

Sorry no pics. We ate it too fast.

6 chicken drumsticks
1 large onion, sliced
2tb vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots or 1 sweet potato, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon curry powder (Chief brand if you can find it)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (use fresh if you have it; I didn’t)
2 tsp salt, or more to taste
black pepper to taste

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
about 1/3 cup milk

Green Seasoning:
Handful Italian parsley or cilantro (Culantro is best if you can find it, but you probably can’t)
2 scallions
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon lime juice

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion slices and saute for about 2 mins; add curry powder, cumin, and ginger. Let the mixture simmer for several minutes, until the onions are browning and the curry is darkening and separating from the oil. Add garlic and stir, scraping up bits from the bottom of the pan, for about 30 seconds. Add chicken and stir together so chicken is coated. Add enough water (or chicken broth if you have it) to cover the chicken by at least two inches. Add carrots, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer, partially covered, at least 45 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, make the dumpling dough. Mix all ingredients together. The milk measurement is a guess; just use enough to bring all the ingredients into a wet dough. Cover bowl with a towel until the soup has simmered at least 45 minutes.

After 45 mins, taste the soup for seasoning; if you like it, start dropping the dumplings in by the teaspoonful. If it needs more of something, add it. I must confess I added a spoonful of chicken soup base (similar to boullion) to amp up the flavor. If the water has boiled down too much, add more.

Let the dumplings boil for about 15 minutes. While they are cooking, make the green seasoning: put parsley, scallions, garlic, and lime juice into a mini chopper (or whatever device you use to blend small amounts of things) and blend away until everything is chopped finely together.

Test the dumplings–if they are ready, your soup is done! Spoon it out into bowls and top with a spoonful of green seasoning. The soup is delightfully rich and smoky, but the raw green seasoning adds the most wonderfully bright, fresh, tangy taste!

Swedish Recipe Design

The above is the recipe for gingerbread. As printed in Ikea’s new cookbook. So awesome I have no words.

Trinidad Roti


Courtesy of Teddy’s Roti Shop in D.C.  Very delicious. This is the goat, which I would not have thought to order myself but my Trinidadian beau said it’s the best so that’s what we got. Big thumbs up.

Stuffed Peppers

Easy to veganize because many traditional Turkish recipes don’t call for meat anyway.

Vegan Hiccup

Someone asked me yesterday how the vegan thing was coming along and it reminded me that I hadn’t updated the blog in awhile. I am still mostly vegan, but ran into a problem when I kept getting canker sores. I haven’t had one of those in like 15 years, but within two months of being vegan I’d had two, each taking two freaking weeks to go away. Suspicious of the timing, I googled for a connection to veganism, and found lots of others have the same problem after giving up meat. And I asked a vegetarian friend and she said “Oh yeah I get those all the time.” Hm.  All evidence is anecdotal but those things are so excruciatingly painful that it was worth it for me to add a bit of meat back into my diet to avoid it. About once a week I’m eating some fish or chicken and this is entirely unscientific but so far I’ve had no recurrence. Apparently canker sores are a bit of a scientific mystery and no one knows what causes them, but they suspect a B12 deficiency, B12 being found exclusively in animal products. So, that’s that. Still mostly vegan and definitely still no dairy, and the world would be a better place if everyone ate meat just once a week.

Speaking of which, today I made a lovely bruschetta out of some campari tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and some gorgeous-smelling fresh basil from my aerogarden. Yum.

Cheap and Better than Store-Bought

Granola! I make about 3 batches a week, it’s so much cheaper and so good. Why pay $6 for a bag of Bear Naked that is about two servings when for the same amount you can make a batch that serves 6?

Mix up some oatmeal, nuts, brown rice syrup or maple or agave, some oil, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Bake it.

Press it. I put another cookie sheet on top and then my heavy le creuset on top of that and leave it til it’s cool. This is essential for creating the clumps. Otherwise each oat will be separate. Once it’s cool, break it up into clumps and add some dried fruit (I chose cranberries):

I have it as cereal w/soymilk every morning, it’s wonderful.


These are from the huge pot of beans and rice I made, along with some guacamole I made, and a warm flour tortilla I didn’t make. I could eat this meal for days and days (and I have since the pot’s so big).

I just bought a big bag o’ potatoes so I’ll be making variations on french fries for the next several days…

Vegan Puddin’

Sorry for the quietness, don’t worry I’m still vegan. Here’s some yummy puddin’ made with soymilk and cocoa and arrowroot and vanilla and almond extract. Yum. I think I’m gonna make that chocolate cake again and use this as frosting as well. Also I made a huge pot of beans and rice that I’ve been eating for days using this recipe. So tomatoey. I added a bunch of spices though, and beans of course. Also have been using Isa’s recipes for things like felafel:

Made tahini too of course but forgot to drizzle it on for the pic. So, nearly three weeks in, I’ve now lost 5.5 lbs thanks to veganizing and am definitely breathing better without the dairy. Onward!

Another Thing I’m Taking Back…

Ok after eating this awesome mess of vegan hash—shredded fried potato, onion, and vegan breakfast sausage—I now see that it would not be so hard to be a fat vegan. This and the deadly chocolate cake I made last week are ample proof.

Vegan Lasagna

Not necessarily the most flattering photo (I told you I suck at food pics) but this was so good I think I like it better than the real thing. Actually I know I do, because I don’t care much for ricotta and therefore tend to like less cheese in my lasagnas. I used Isa‘s pizza sauce recipe and then her basil tofu ricotta, which is a mix of firm tofu, basil, garlic, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast. Obviously I could’ve used more sauce–typical mistake when you use no-boil lasagna noodles. Which I guess aren’t vegan so I guess this is not entirely a vegan recipe. Oops. I guess I will allow the exception of pasta because I can’t live without this dish.

Next time I’m adding sauteed spinach and mushrooms.

Vegan Update

After week one I’ve lost 4 lbs and I smell like a flower. Stay tuned for more developments.

I Take It Back

Vegan desserts can be amazing.

I used the Fauxstess Chocolate Cupcakes recipe, though I made a cake as I don’t yet have cupcake pan, and it’s YUM. One tip: I used agave nectar instead of maple syrup, simply because it was way cheaper than real maple, and it worked just fine. Here’s someone else’s pic of the fauxstess cupcakes, since mine is just a boring-looking (but delicious) black-chocolate cake:

Cheeseless Pizza

Sauce is always the most important element in a pizza if you ask me, and Isa’s recipe is simple and absolutely perfect. Smashed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, a bit of oregano and thyme, and that’s it. And if your toppings are flavorful enough, you won’t miss the cheese. Here we have broccoli, red onion, salty olives from the olive bar, and “Green Garden Puree”, also from the book, which consists of a bunch of green stuff pureed together with garlic and almonds and tofu. It rocks. But it makes a TON, so I will be eating Green Garden Puree for days and days and days. I will also say that most of the recipes in the book are a bit heavy on the salt, so I tend to halve the amount and it turns out right every time.

Also I have tried many times over the years to make my own pizza dough but just can’t get it right, so I use whole wheat pitas instead, which do just fine.

So far so Good

My primary goal with the vegan diet is not weight loss but I lost two pounds after the first day, I won’t complain about that. Today was leftover black-eyed pea and wild rice croquettes w/leftover mushroom gravy (yum) for lunch and then roasted potatoes and green beans w/tempeh sausage gravy for dinner. I took pics but I haven’t figured out the trick to taking good food pics so I won’t bother sharing them. Here’s a pic of my fresh beet juice, for example, which I photographed so you could see the gorgeous purplish red color, but it just looks like drained blood:

The beet juice is not in the cookbook but I’ve been juicing for several months and this is one of my faves–beet, carrot, and apple. I actually detest the dirt-like taste of beets but they are SO good for you I have been training myself to tolerate them. It’s working.

Also I have been chastized for disparaging vegan desserts—apparently they can be wonderful, despite my experience, so I’m going to try the chocolate cupcake recipe in the book to gather more data and reformulate my thesis. I will return to share my results.

Nectar of the Gods


That would be roasted garlic. My lunch today. That’s right, an entire bulb of roasted garlic spread on some whole wheat pita. Heaven. And vegan. And cheap—what does garlic cost, like 24 cents a bulb? Throw it in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and you’re done.

Dinner was supposed to be Quinoa and Black-eyed pea Croquettes with Mushroom Sauce, but I’m not a fan of quinoa so I substituted wild rice, and decided I was too lazy to form the croquettes so I just made the sauce and the rice.

Bad blurry photo but it tastes better than it looks! The sauce is perfect, and I’ll be using the leftover rice to make the croquettes tomorrow, when I hope to be less lazy…

Adventures in Veganism

I’m starting an 8-week plan to go vegan and will be keeping track of my progress here. Several reasons, all health-related. First, I’ve heard tell that getting dairy out of your diet will help with allergies, and my sinuses are out of control lately. Second, my cholesterol needs some thinning and I had some weird chest pains the other day that had me swearing off meat. Third, I’d like to prevent myself from becoming morbidly obese. There may be fat vegans out there but I imagine it’s much harder to do with no butter, cheese, cream, eggs, or meat. Have you ever tried a vegan dessert? There you go.

This will be my main tool for the vegan plan:

That’s right bitches, Joan Jett knows what she’s talkin’ about. I’ve already tried a few recipes and they are awesome. Ask Serpico, he sampled the Spanakopita I made from here and it was divine.

So I’m going to be back here daily sharing pics of my latest creations from this book (and some others). Right now I’m off to the grocery store to stock up on veggies …