Category Archives: New Recipes



I have rarely been disappointed with a recipe from Veganomicon.  This was my dinner tonight – Asparagus and Lemongrass Risotto!  Garnished with some asparagus tips and chopped peanuts, this is a dish to impress anyone!  Amazingly creamy, this salty-tangy, Thai-inspired dish is refreshing.  And the colours are beautiful!  You can’t entirely see it in the picture, but there are tiny flecks of red from the serrano peppers.  It’s a bit labour-intensive, but worth every second standing over the stove stirring the risotto until it’s absorbed all the liquid.  This is surely going to be a new favourite.  : )


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Vegan Beanballs from Veganomicon

I’ve been craving some good meatballs, but the frozen substitutes are so expensive!  So I decided to try a recipe for “beanballs” from Veganomicon, a book I highly recommend to vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike.  Full of delicious and healthy recipes!  Anyway, these beanballs are positively divine.  I couldn’t stop eating the mixture off of my hands while I was rolling them into balls.  I just ate them with spaghetti and decided I’d rather eat them by themselves as some pop-in-your-mouth protein treat.  They’re bursting with flavour!  First I’ll type out the recipe as it is in the book, then make some notes of some changes I made:


  • 1 20-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and rained (about 3 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp steak sauce
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 vital wheat gluten (this makes them chewier, but you can substitute whole-wheat or all-purpose flour…I used flour)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme


Preheat oven to 375F.  Mash the kidney beans in a mixing bowl until no whole beans are left.  (Start with a potato masher, then use a fork to get any rogue beans). You don’t want them to be completely smooth; you should still be able to recognize that they are kidney beans.  Add the soy sauce, steak sauce, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, bread crumbs, wheat gluten, and herbs and use a fork to mix everything together.  Use your hands to knead the mixtre for about a minute, until everything is really well combined and firm.

Roll the bean mixture into walnut-sized balls [here they said you should have 12-15 but I got about twice that…guess I made mine tiny] but don’t make them too big; smaller makes for the best texture.

Grease a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.  Place the balls on the sheet and drizzles them with a little more oil to coat [I sprayed Pam].  Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom, then flip them and bake for another 10 minutes.

Pan-frying Option:

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.  Pour about 1/4 in of olive oil in the pan, then add your beanballs.  Cook for about 15 minutes, tossing them often, until browned on all sides.

Nutrition info per baked beanball if you get 24:

Calories: 48; Fat: 1.2 g; Protein: 2 g; Carbohydrates: 7,3 g

Some changes that I made: I used Italian-seasoned bread crumbs since that’s all I had.  That may be one reason these suckers are bursting with flavour.  I’m also not a huge garlic fan and don’t like the idea of biting into a chunk of garlic, so I used 1/8 tsp of garlic powder instead.  I left out the lemon zest since it wasn’t worth me buying one lemon for such a small amount of zest.  As for the thyme and oregano, I had this Tuscan Sunset spice mix sitting in my cabinet, so I used a teaspoon of that instead.  Yummm!  These definitely make the list of recipes I will make again and again!  They were quick and easy.  I even made the mixture the night before and rolled them into balls out of the fridge.  I think having them cold may have helped the mixture stick to itself a little more easily.



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Purple Sweet Potatos

An exciting find at Whole Foods and probably the most intriguing vegetable I’ve encountered recently.  They’re grown locally so I don’t know if this is just a NC thing, but they’re awfully pretty!  I’m no fan of sweet potatoes because of their overwhelmingly squash-like flavour, but their purple cousin is milder and has a very creamy texture.  I used these purple spuds in some vegetarian burritos a few weeks back.  Their colour was awesome against the dark green kale and black beans.  Imagine biting into a burrito and seeing this!

Heatlhy Veggie Burrito Filling


I tried them again in a recipe from the January/February issue of Vegetarian Times. Baked Leek and Sweet Potato Gratin. Beautiful to look at and delicious!

Baked Leek and Sweet Potato Gratin


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Please Forgive Me

I am a sinner and I have a confession to make.  Yesterday I committed the worst sin a good Ukrainian could commit.  It’s terrible.  If my Baba were still around she’d probably tell me I’ll burn in hell.  Each time I think about what I did I get a twinge of guilt in my stomach.  Heck, I might even kneel down and pray the rosary a few times for penance.  What did I do, you ask?  Well, it was two things really.  One of my resolutions was to try 3 new recipes each month.  I haven’t tried any yet in January, so I looked through my cookbooks and picked a recipe from a French cookbook.  I’ve never had French food, but it seemed good enough – root vegetable ragout.  Sounds yummy and hearty, right?!  Rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, carrots, shallots, and some chard thrown in there just for fun.  I’ve never had most of those vegetables, but let’s be adventurous!

I went to Whole Foods on Saturday and did my grocery shopping.  I spent a decent amount of money buying all the ingredients (root vegetables are heavy!).  My Sunday was spent making the dish.  It was gorgeous.  It was art.  My casserole dish (which is actually a crock from a broken crock pot, so it’s rather large) was filled to the brim and overflowing so much I couldn’t even mix the ingredients.  There must have been 5 or 6 pounds of food there.  Meals for a week, woohooooooo!  I took my first bite and…it was so disgusting I couldn’t even swallow it!  “Well, maybe it’s that vegetable I don’t like.  Let’s try another one.”  *gag*  Oh boy.  My eyes bugged out.  “I just made all this food and I can’t even eat it.  OK, Tamara, think of the starving people in this world and take another bite.”  *GAG*

I was so distressed by the situation I seriously called my mom for moral support.  I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away.  If there are two things I’ve had drilled in my head from growing up in a Ukrainian household they would be to never waste food and to never waste your money.  Sin number one and sin number two.

The ragout did end up in the garbage.  I won’t be praying any rosaries for it, but I do feel guilty.  I guess I learned my lesson that when I’m trying a new recipe, I shouldn’t make the whole thing!  EEP!  I realize it’s probably the chard I don’t like only because I vaguely remember making something early in the summer that also may have had chard in it, and it had a similar disgusting and pungent flavour to it.  I’ll be steering clear of the leafy green for a while.  ICK!


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