Sunday, September 28, 2008

Vegan Sushi Party!

Yet, another vegan sushi party! This is my 3rd post about vegan sushi. You can tell that I love vegan sushi and like to have a sushi party. It's a lot of fun to let your guests roll their own sushi and choose the filling they want to put in it. I don't have to prepare too much before hand and can enjoy the company. This time, I include an option for those who don't like seaweed or nori. I served 3 types of vegan sushi(with or without nori): maki sushi, temaki sushi, and inari sushi .

I piled up the filling ingredients on a tray: cucumber, carrots, crispy sauteed soy ham, seasoned tofu, red or yellow bell pepper. I didn't have an avocado which would be great in a sushi. You can actually be creative in what kind of filling you want to use. I prepared the sushi rice in a separate large bowl. Guests can create their own sushi, any style they like.

Rolled Sushi or Maki sushi wrapped with nori. Guests can roll their own sushi like these above.

Soy sheet wrapped sushi (temaki). Guest can hand roll their own temaki or rolled sushi with the soy wrapper. This is for those who detest nori or seaweed. I learned about soy wrappers for sushi from Julie a while back. Check this out: Sushi Party soy wrappers

Nori wrapped sushi (temaki). Guest can roll their own temaki with nori, too.

I prepared these before hand. This is actually my favorite sushi style (no nori). I added some green peas and corn in the filling. For a vegan inari sushi recipe, you can check Bryanna's blog, here.

I made my sushi rice combined with quinoa. For recipes and previous blogs, you can click here and here.

If you have never had sushi party, you should try it. You can invite your friends who love Japanese food, friends who detest nori, and friends who love to gather for a fun and feast event!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vegan Potato Salad with Mustard and Fresh Baby Dill Weed

Store-bought potato salad or any potato salad served in a picnic or a party is a 'no-no' dish for us. Generally, potato salad recipes contain mayonnaise (eggs and dairy). Therefore, I have not made potato salad in the last 12 years. I could have made one with vegan mayonnaise but DH doesn't like mayonnaise or vegan mayonnaise (home made or store-bought). I had been racking my brain for a potato salad recipe that will satisfy both our palates. Alas, I came up with this recipe. It is very mustardy and a bit spicy but that's what we both like. It also has fresh baby dill weed and salty vegan bacon in it. This salad is a bit sweet, too(agave nectar). It's a definitely a bold and flavorful potato salad and not the general lame potato salad made with mayonnaise.

Vegan Potato Salad with Mustard and Fresh Baby Dill Weed
Serve 6-8

3 lbs. Fingerling potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes
2 ribs celery, diced small
3 green onions, diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced small
1/2 pkg. Smart Bacon (Lightlife), cooked and crumbled
3 Tbsp. Fresh Baby Dill Weed(I really prefer fresh dill weed in this recipe), chopped

1/3 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp. Organic Apple Cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
1 1/2 Tbsp. Organic Grained Dijon Mustard or Spicy Grained Dijon Mustard (or smooth Dijon mustard) My favorite brand is Roland Organic Grained Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. salt
Fresh ground black pepper (1/4 - 1/2 tsp)

  1. Prepare veggie bacon as instructed on the box. Let them cool and hardened. Then, crumble or cut them into small pieces.
  2. Boil potatoes (unpeeled) for 30 minutes. Drain and let them cool for 10 minutes, then, peel them. Cut them up in bite pieces. Let them cool some more while preparing dressing.
  3. Measure apple cider vinegar into a bowl. Using a whisk or hand held blender, pour olive oil into the vinegar while whisking or blending this mixture. Oil and vinegar will combine into a nice and creamy looking dressing.
  4. Add agave nectar, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Mix them really well with the whisk. You can adjust the sweet, spicy, sour, and salty taste.
  5. Put all salad ingredients in a big bowl. Add dressing and combine well.
  6. Let salad sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve it cold or at a room temperature.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


There have been some stress in our household lately. We got some not-so good news from direct family members who are dealing with health issues and major surgeries. A friend of mine suggested that I made some comfort meals. So I did. These are not my recipes but I will direct you to the sources I used (cookbooks or websites).

Above are Crispy Beer-Battered Seitans (upper middle) from Yellow Rose Recipes cookbook by Joanna Vaught, my new vegan cookbook. On top of it is Bryanna's Southern Biscuit Gravy (from her newsletters). On the right of it are Jalapeno Poppers made with Bryanna's Vegan Sharp Chedda (from her newsletter). I grilled some zucchini and yellow squash and fingerling potatoes to eat them with.

Above is our vegan barbecue meal. I made vegan Barbecued Seitan Ribs (top right under the corn bread) from FatfreeVegan (SusanV.). I also made barbecued super firm tofu (underneath ribs). I made vegan Baked Mac and Cheese from Yellow Rose Recipe cookbook using Bryanna's Vegan Sharp Chedda Cheeze (from her newsletter). I also barbecued corn-on-the-cobs topped with Earth Balance and made a new recipe of corn bread I tried from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

My favorite was the vegan macaroni and cheeze. I think this was the best vegan mac and cheeze I ever made. The combination of a great recipe from Yellow Rose Recipe and Bryanna's cheeze did it. I don't really like store-bought vegan cheese. However, I love Bryanna's cheeze that I can make at home. I was also surprised by the corn bread recipe from the Joy of Vegan Baking. It was delicious.

There are all kind of recipes of Jalapeño poppers which are also known as Dragon Eggs (because it is fiery hot) or Armadillo Eggs. It usually is stuffed with cream cheese and other kind of cheese and spices. This one is vegan. I used Bryanna's Soft Vegan Sharp Chedda Cheeze mixed with chopped parsley and chives. Then, I used the same beer batter for the crispy seitan above (from Yellow Rose Recipes cookbook) to coat them with. It was crispy and somewhat spicy and hot. I used rubber gloves to remove the seeds and white membranes from inside the jalapeño before I stuffed it with the soft chedda mixture.

Dessert was not left out in vegan comfort meals. This time I made Fall Fruit Crisp from The Joy of Vegan Baking cookbook. I used organic honeycrisp apple and blueberries I bought from a nearby farmers market for the filling. Then, I mixed them with raisins, spices, and brown sugar. For the crisp layer, I mixed a combination of rolled oats, whole wheat pastry flour, spices, Earth Balance, and maple syrup. It was served warm and topped with vegan vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

How to Make Vegan Fish or Mock Fish - Vegan Unagi Donburi

If you've ever been to Chinese Buddhist vegetarian restaurants and ordered dishes with 'fish' in it, you probably thought about how the mock fish was made. Below is a recipe that reveals the secret of Chinese Buddhist vegetarian fish. They use fresh or frozen yuba (which you may found it in the frozen or refridgerated sections of an Asian market) that is chopped into small flakes and then seasoned and wrapped in a nori sheet (sometimes a yuba sheet is added on the outside of the nori for a crispy skin). Then, it is steamed, cooled, and sliced into a fillet. Most Chinese Buddhist restaurants deep fry the yuba and nori wrapped 'fish' and then top it with flavored constarch thickened sauce.

Fresh or frozen yuba pockets (pictured) are hard to find in certain parts of this country (or your country). I found it in a nearby Asian market. But it is easier to find dry yuba sheets or sticks in Asian markets near you, probably? You'll have to do a few extra steps with yuba sticks because it is harder to soften them.

2 lbs fresh or thawed yuba pockets OR 2 pkgs dried yuba (6 oz. dried each) - see how to prepare below3 tsp sugar
6 tsp vegetarian bouillon mix powder
Note: I used Harvest 2000 Vegetarian Bouillon Mix chicken flavor or Bill's Best Chiknish1/2 tsp salt (use 1 tsp if using chiknish since it is not salty)
1-2 tsp kelp granules or more, depending on how 'seafoody' you want it to be
6 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
4-6 nori sheets

Glue mixture:
2 Tbsp Cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water

Preparing with dry yuba sheets or sticks:Soak dry yuba in a lot of warm water in 2 large bowl. Make sure the water covers the yuba. Let it sit over night or at least 6 hours.
If they are not soft enough, boil a large amount of water in a large pot, simmer soaked yuba about 5 - 8 minutes. The idea is to make the yuba soft. After soaking, a few sections of the yuba are still hard. Simmering them for a few minutes will help.

Let them cool and then squeeze the water out as much as you can, then proceed to the next step below.

Preparing 'fish' mixture (with fresh or dryyuba):
Chop the yuba with a knife or put the yuba (soaked yuba) in a food processor and process about 5 seconds only. Do not process too long. The idea is to chop them to small flakes.
Squeeze the water out of the yuba (especially if using dried yuba sticks). You may use a piece of cloth or drain the yuba in a colander and squeeze the water out using your hands. Transfer the yuba to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, excepts the nori and glue. Mix really well.

'Fish Fillet' :
Layer a piece of nori on a cutting board. Brush lightly with the cornstarch and water mixture (glue mixture). Scoop about 1 1/2 cup of the 'fish' mixture on the bottom half of the nori sheet. Press it down with your fingers or a spoon. You need to press and squeeze the filling tightly so it won't fall apart after it is steamed and cooked. I found out that if you wet your hands, the mixture will less likely to stick on your fingers or you can use a saran wrap.

Then, fold the other half of the nori over and make sure there is a 1/2 inch overlap to cover the fish (see picture). Seal the fish using cornstarch and water mixture that is spread over the 1/2 inch overlap and press and squeeze the 'fish' mixture tight together as much as you can. Repeat with the rest of the mixture for each nori sheet.
Steaming 'Fish Fillet' :
To prevent sticking to your steamer, put a few of cabbage leaves or lettuce leaves on your steamer, arrange fillet on top of the leaves (see picture). I have used Chinese bamboo steamers without leaves and it works nicely (didn't stick). Steam for 20 minutes. Let the fillet throughly cool before transferring it out of the steamer. Put them in the refridgerator to cool off some more for a few hours before cooking it. They freeze well.

Cooking Tips:
It is best to use the 'fish' for cooking after it is refridgerated for a few hours or frozen and then thawed.

JAPANESE VEGAN UNAGI DONBURI ('Eel' On Rice Bowl, pictured above)

Also, featured in Dimensión Vegana in Spanish Language with Video.

I used to order Unagi Donburi when I visited Japanese restaurants before I became a vegetarian. I sometimes missed the 'sea' flavor of Unagi. I was able to re-create this dish after I discovered how to make my own vegan fish. It is best to eat this dish accompanied by vegetable miso soup and vegan kimchi. Since the unagi sauce is so sweet, the saltiness of the miso soup balance it out. I also serve it with hot Genmai Cha (Japanese green tea with roasted brown rice). I am now back to eating Japanese food again.

1 recipe 'fish fillet' above
Note: For Unagi, I added 1/4 cup of reconstituted chopped wakame seaweed when making the 'fish fillet'. This will add more 'sea' flavor to the fillets. This is optional, of course.
vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame seeds
Dash of roasted sesame oil

4 cups steamed Japanese rice (short grain rice, white or brown)

1/3 cup Japanese soy sauce
1/3 cup Mirin (Sweet Style Japanese Mirin)
1/3 cup vegetarian Kombu Dashi or vegetable broth
2-3 Tbsp sugar, depending how sweet you like it or use agave syrup

Prepare the sauce:
Put the sauce ingredients together in a small pan. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Set it aside. I only use a small amount of sauce for each fillet. It is a matter of preference. Some people likes lots of sauce on their donburi. If you do, you can double the recipe.
Preparing the unagi:Heat a non-stick frying pan, then add 1/2 to 1 tsp vegetable oil. Pan fry 'fish fillet' in batches,2 fillets each time. Make sure both sides are crispy. Turn down the heat to low, pour 1/3 of sauce over fillets. Let the sauce cover the fillet and immediately take it off the heat. You don't want the sauce to crystalized in the pan. The longer you cook the sauce in the pan the thicker it will be. Repeat for the rest of the fillets.

Divide rice into 4 or 6 bowls. Transfer and divide the fillets and sauce on top of the rice. Sprinkle with dash of roasted sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds on top.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Friday, August 08, 2008

Secrets of Vegan Travellers

Hearst Castle Roman Pool

I went on a short vacation this week to Cambria/San Simeon, along the California Coast Hwy, to Hearst Castle. After becoming vegetarians/vegans, DH and I have a challenge regarding what to eat while we travel because we live in a non-vegan world. This issue didn't stop us from going on vacations and trips. My secrets are the Internet,, and a GPS system.

Before a trip, I usually visit to see what restaurants are available in the area. If there is no vegan restaurant in this site, I search the Internet to find restaurants with vegan or vegetarian options. Then, I either print a page or two and/or enter the addresses into my Garmin nuvi 260. This GPS tool was a xmas gift from DH last year. I thought it was the best gift I ever received from him (on top of the kitchen tools he gave me). If there is such a thing as a Vegan Garmin, it will be perfect. But there is none, so I entered all the vegan restaurants I found into my Garmin.

Talking about secrets, I want to let you know about Mary's Secret Garden, a 100% Organic Vegan Bistro, in a California beach town called Ventura. This is the last place we visited during our trip but it was the highlight of it all so I will start from here and then go backward.

We visited this bistro TWICE in 2 days and splurged on vegan dishes. It was indeed a VEGAN HEAVEN. For someone like me who cook ALL THE TIME, it was nice to have someone else cooked for me, for a change. It was a real treat for me!

This bistro is small but homey. It looks like an old 50s house that was converted to a bistro. I found this restaurant at a year ago and we went to visit it then but I didn't let the secret out till now. It's too bad that I live 1.5 hours away -without traffic and 3 hours away-with 101 Hwy traffic from it. That's the only issue I have with this bistro.

Other than that, the vegan dishes are so delicious, healthy, gourmet, colorful, and organic. If you read its reviews at, you'll find that lots of visitors complained about it being pricey. It's true that it is pricey but have you looked at the price of fresh organic ingredients in your nearby organic market or a farmers market? Eating organic is not cheap. That's the fact.
I know so because I shop organic, too.

We definitely were very satisfied with what were served to us. Every dish was a gourmet meal and made personally by Chef Mary (except the cakes, her friends made them). Half of the menu is vegan raw and the other half is vegan cooked dishes. She also provides 'specials' all the time so you don't have to eat the same thing all the time (or if you want to eat the same thing you'll find that in their menu). I met Chef Mary and talked to her. She was very nice, helpful, and humble. Our waitress, Rose, had a lot of recommendations for us which some we followed and some we didn't but she was very accommodating.

During our first visit DH ordered Mushroom Bakin Burger with a side of raw slaw. DH doesn't like veganaise or any other vegan mayonnaise so he asked for mustard on the side:

This dish has a lot of umami in it. All of them were yummy, including the raw slaw.

I ordered Blueberries/Pineapple/Coconut smoothie (one of the specials) and Vegan Shrymp Pad Thai. I thought the smoothie was very colorful and delicious.

My Vegan Shrymp Pad Thai was right on! It was spicy, peanutty, and flavorful. Mary suggested that I squeezed all the limes all over it to enjoy it more. She was right.

At our next visit, the next day, we ordered a raw appetizer, Vegan Mock Salmon Raw Sushi. The picture speaks for itself. It was very refreshing and tasty.DH ordered Middle Eastern Platter served with warmed whole wheat pita bread (on the menu) and opted for both Stuffed Grape Leaves and Falafels. Mary made everything on this plate. The Stuffed Grape Leaves were stuffed with rice and garbanzo beans. The hummus had herbs in it and was quite delicious. The taboulleh was a raw one. I was intriqued with the grains in the taboulleh but was told that they were HEMP SEEDS. Rose showed me the Organic Nutiva Hemp Seeds that they sell and use. I bought a package and am going to use it in my taboulleh, the next time I make it. Hemp seeds have a lot of omega oils in it and are definitely nutritious.
I ordered Vegan Chicken Cilantro Salad. I am curious about the cilantro dressing and wanted to save room for a dessert:

This salad and the dressing was delicious. It was all homemade and gourmet but the vegan chicken was not, I think.

We split this Vegan Heaven Coconut Cream Chocolate Cake. This finished off our trip on a good note: I definitely know that all my vegan friends will be drooling over this cake.

The last few days before we visited Mary's bistro we had just adequate vegetarian dishes. Most of them are dishes we ate at non-vegan restaurants with vegan options. We visited Sojourner Cafe in Santa Barbara.

I had Tempeh Reuben and DH had Tempeh Taco Salad. You can ask for veganized items in this restaurant. Their dishes were good but they were nothing real special(compared to Mary's). They were just good and adequate food.

We also found a Southeast Asian cafe in Cambria that offered vegetarian dishes, called Wild Ginger . This cafe is owned by a Singaporean Chef. This one is not in yet. There are a few vegetarian dishes in their menu. I had the Curried Butternut Squash-Sweet Corn Bisque that was spicy and coconutty (it has coconut milk in it). DH had Indian Vegetable Samosa. We both opted for the Sezhuan Tofu with rice. Surprisingly, it was spicy and flavorful. For desserts, we opted for their home made sorbets (available flavors are pomelo, kiwi strawberry, lime, lychee, mango, pomegranate).

I picked lychee and DH got the lime one. I was very surprised of how good it was. I could taste the lychee very strongly. Yum! I may make this at home. We definitely were satisfied with what we found in Cambria. We had another dinner at Morro Bay at a California Fusion Mexican restaurant called Taco Temple. If you ask to hold the sour cream and cheese, this restaurant provides vegetarian burritos and tostadas that can be veganized. Their black beans and rice are vegetarian. What I like was that everything tasted so fresh with lots of veggies.

Well, looks like my vacation is over. This means that I am going back to my kitchen and will start cooking again!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vegan Vietnamese Shaking 'Beef' with help of California Earthquake

When I posted this blog this morning, we didn't have the Earthquake. It just happened a few minutes ago while I was eating my lunch in my office at Santa Ana, California. It happened at 11:42 am, a 5.8 earthquake at Diamond Bar and Chino Hills, California. It was PRETTY SHAKY! I am ok, a bit shaken up. We are about 17.5 miles from the epicenter.

The original name of this dish is Thit Bo Luc Lac, a famous Vietnamese dish that literally is translated to English as 'Shaking Beef.' This dish is named this way because the marinated beef is shaken in a very hot wok or cast iron pan, searing and shaking them, until they are evenly cooked. Then, they are served warm on a bed of fresh watercress, tomatoes, cucumbers, and seared onions, with a clear sweet and sour sauce (like salad dressing).

DH and I have been dining in Au Lac Vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant in Fountain Valley, CA for about 10 years now. One of our favorite dishes from their menu is Soy Beef and Watercress. We've been eating this dish for a long long time without knowing that this is the vegan version of Thit Bo Luc Lac. We have never eaten the original non-vegetarian dish at a non-vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant since we were not introduced to Vietnamese dishes until we became vegetarians 12 years ago. Not until recently, when I started to read blogs in the Internet that I found the original recipe and the story behind it. When I perused the ingredients, I realized that what I read was similar to our favorite dish that we frequently eat at Au Lac.

I recreated the veganized dish at home but used more ingredients than the original recipe such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and grilled pineapple. Au Lac uses watercress, tomatoes, and cucumbers but not pineapple. I had some left-over grilled pineapple in the fridge and thought that it would be a nice addition. This dish is flavorful because it tickles your tounge with 5 flavors: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and umami (savory/deliciousness). The sour taste comes from the rice vinegar, lime juice, tomatoes, and pineapple. The sweet taste comes from the tomatoes, pineapple, seared onions, and agave syrup. The salty taste comes from the soy sauces and salt. The bitter taste comes from the watercress, soy sauce, and cucumber. The umami (5th flavor) comes from the seared 'soy beef', seared onions, freshly ground black pepper, and the soy sauces. The key to the deliciousness of this dish is to have a balance of all 5 flavors. I hope I can do the justice with the recipe below but you are welcome to adjust the flavors according to your taste of balance.

Vietnamese Soy 'Beef' and Watercress
Serve 4-6


1 pkg. dried soy meat, beef style (Thit Chay)(7-8 oz.) or 2 cups dried Soy Curls™ prepared (see instructions below) and marinade with:

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Amino™
2 Tablespoons agave nectar
1 Tablespoon dark mushroom soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
Note: See my blog regarding the dark mushroom soy sauce or light soy sauce or 'fish' sauce that I use in Vietnamese or Thai cooking. Do not use Japanese soy sauce because it won't taste the same.

1 medium onion, slice thinly (1/4-inch thick)

Sweet and Sour Light Sauce(salad dressing):
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Amino™
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 -2 Tablespoons agave nectar
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch organic watercress, cleaned and dried
2 Persian cucumbers or 1 English cucumber, sliced diagonally
1 medium fresh and ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 cup grilled or fresh pineapple

Preparing dried soy 'beef' (Thit Chay):
  1. Simmer dried soy beef in hot water for 20 minutes.
  2. Drain water and squeeze most of the water out.
  3. The soy 'beef' should be soft now. I use this brand since it is very thinly sliced and is soft after they are simmered in boiling water.
  4. Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl.
  5. Apply marinade to soy 'beef', mix well, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
If using Soy Curls™ :
  1. Soak Soy Curls™ in warm water for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain water and squeeze most of the water out.
  3. Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Apply marinade sauce to Soy Curls™ , mix well, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
Preparing vegetables:

  1. Mix sweet and sour light sauce ingredients together and marinade the sliced red onions in this sauce. The fresh onion flavor really makes this dressing flavorful. Let it sit marinating while you are preparing the rest of the vegetables.
  2. Layer watercress on a serving dish, top with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and pineapple.
Searing onions:
  1. Heat a cast iron frying pan until it is very hot.
  2. Drain onions from salad dressing/sauce but reserve the sauce in a bowl.
  3. Pour or sprinkle the reserved dressing/sauce onto the prepared vegetables on the serving platter, evenly.
  4. Put 1 teaspoon vegetable oil onto the hot cast iron frying pan. Then, add the drained onions.

  5. Shake and turn onions until cooked (translucent) and a bit charred. Pour onions on top of the prepared vegetables.
Shaking Soy 'Beef' or Soy Curls™ :
    1. Heat a cast iron frying pan until very hot.
    2. Add 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Then, add the marinated soy meat.
    3. Shake and turn soy meat until a bit charred. Place warm soy meat on top of seared onions and prepared vegetables.

Before serving, mix the soy meat, onions and vegetables together and serve this dish with brown rice or white steamed sticky rice.

      Happy shake, shake, and shake!

Monday, July 21, 2008


DH and I attended Veggie Meetup of OC at Corona Del Mar State Beach Park. It's a very nice beach neighboring millions of dollars homes. We met nice people who are vegetarians and vegans (or vegan raw). This was a potluck event so each one of us brought a dish or two.

Picture taken by Ami

It's summer in Southern California. We are enjoying hot summer days at the beach, right? Wrong! True as far as enjoying the beach but it was not hot and sunny. We had an overcast and cold day, last Saturday. No need for sunscreen! Do I look cold or what? Bring a jacket or a wrap!

Talking about a wrap, I made Veggie Roll-Up or Wrap and Quinoa Taboulleh for the potluck.

We all really were enjoying to eat all the food on the table without worrying about non-vegan items. Someone brought chocolate mousse with peaches in it. Someone else brought 4 kinds of desserts from 4 different vegan cookbooks (recipes were shared, too). Yummy! Then, someone else brought fresh young coconuts, fruit salad, watermelon, etc. etc. We came late so we didn't see what else was available before we came.

Everyone enjoyed my dishes. I am going to display how this roll up was made. I made it just an hour before we took off for the beach potluck. It's an easy potluck dish for a summer event or a nice lunch dish to bring to work.

Veggie Roll-Up

Serve 6 for a meal or a bunch for potluck


2 cans (8 oz. each) organic black beans (cuban style is ok, too)
6 vegan garden burgers (your favorite brand), prepared according to package
3 avocadoes, cut up
2 raw carrots, shredded coarsely
2 cups baby spinach leaves (raw)
1 cup organic corn (frozen, thawed)
cilantro sprigs
your favorite salad dressing (can be vegan thousand island or vegan chipotle ranch or veganaise)

6 whole wheat lavash bread (10 by 14-inches)

  1. First, rinse and drain black beans completely. If there are some moisture, it's ok. Smash only some of the beans with a fork or hand-held blender to make it sticky.

  2. Take a piece of lavash, lay it flat on a cutting board. Spread 1/6 of the black beans on lavash, then, top it with corn.

  3. Break up 1 prepared and cooled vegan burger and put it in the middle, lengthwise, and then top with 1/2 of an avocado, cut up.

  4. Top with a few baby spinach leaves all the way (lengthwise). Then, top with your vegan dressing (I used vegan chipotle ranch). Sprinkle some coarsly chopped carrots.

  5. Add a few of the cilantro sprigs on the side and brush the rest of the lavash with water, lightly. This is to prevent it to break while it is rolled up (an important step).

  6. Then, roll up everything like making a burrito. Squeeze all ingredients tightly while preventing the filling to spill over on both sides. This takes a practice but it 's not that hard. :-) You'll end up with a log or a roll-up sandwich or a wrap. Whoopie, I didn't break it!

  7. You can eat the wrap just like it is or cut it up (a good idea for a potluck, don't you think?). To cut it up, with a very sharp knife, cut the wrap into halves, in the middle of the roll, then cut each half into 3 or 4 pieces. Clean the knife by wiping it with a moist paper towel for each cut (unlike what I did below, shame on me!)

  8. Repeat Step 2-7 for the rest of the lavash. Enjoy this veggie roll-up with your favorite salad.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Vegan BBQ on July 4th and Vegan Peach Melba

It's the time for a BBQ at So Cal (Southern California). It's July 4th, the weather was hot, and the BBQ grill was out. The menu for our July 4th's BBQ consisted of: BBQed Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage sausage topped with grilled onions, peppers, and sauerkraut; grilled vegetables; and a Peach Melba for dessert.

The recipe for grilled Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage on a bun is really easy. If you have not tried this product, I highly recommend it. I love the smoky and sweetness of this vegan sausage. To balance the flavor, I topped it with grilled red onions, red and yellow bell peppers, and organic sauerkraut, sauteed with a little EVOO.

Grilled Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage with Onions, Peppers, and Sauerkraut
Serve 4

1 pkg. Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage
4 vegan hot dog buns, your favorite brand

1 small red onions, sliced
1/2 large red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 large yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 cup organic sauerkraut (I used Eden brand)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

mustard (your choice)

  1. Heat a cast iron pan on medium high flame(I used a portable stove to cook outside when the weather is hot).
  2. Add olive oil. Then, add onions. Pan fried for 1 minute. Add bell peppers. Sauteed for another minute.
  3. Add organic sauerkraut and ground black pepper. Sautee until all vegetables are browned and heated through.
  4. While toppings were being pan fried, put Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage sausages on the grill along with the buns. Carefully, watch the hot dog buns. Flip sausages after 2 minutes.

  5. Assemble the hot dog buns and sausages together, Then,add toppings and mustard.
  6. Serve immediately.
Grilled Vegetables
Serve 4

2 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. tamari
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 medium organic sweet potato or yam ( microwaved for 2 minutes)
2 large organic zucchini
2 large organic crooked neck yellow squash
1 lb. organic asparagus

  1. Cut(lengthwise) yam, zucchini, and yellow squash into 1/4-inch thin slices.
  2. Mix marinade in a small bowl with a wire whisk
  3. Marinade all vegetable for about 1 hour
  4. Grill on hot coals for about 4 minutes each side
Now, the fun part is the dessert: Vegan Peach Melba, vanilla ice cream served with a poached peach and raspberry sauce. This dessert was inspired by Curtis Stone, the Aussie celebrity chef from Take Home Chef. I love to watch cooking shows whether it is vegan or non-vegan(I always think that recipes can be veganized). Curtis reminded me of Peach Melba, a dessert that I savored in my childhood. This dessert is well-known in Australia where he came from. Americans probably never heard of this dessert. However, growing up in Indonesia which is near Australia, my late dad always took us to have Peach Melba as a treat in our hometown's ice cream shop. I totally forgot about this dessert until Curtis made this dessert in one of his shows. Yeah, I remember this delicious ice cream dessert so I determined to make it and to re-live my childhood.

I invited my mom and siblings to try it and we went back to our memory lane, our childhood era, talking about fun events we had together as a family in our hometown's ice cream shop, having Peach Melba. Mom and siblings had the non-vegan store-bought vanilla ice cream in it. I had it with Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent with Coconut Milk,Vanilla Bean, soy ice cream. This product has been blogged in many different vegan blogs. It finally reached the shelf of the ice cream section of Whole Foods market in my area. This vanilla soy ice cream was really decadent and creamy.

Vegan Peach Melba
Adapted from Curtis Stone's recipe
Serve 4


For the Poached Peaches:
4 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Note: I used vanilla beans and scraped the dark bean specks. You are welcome to substitute with vanilla extract (1 -2 teaspoons) but using vanilla beans is much better.
4 peaches, peeled but leave whole

For the Raspberry Sauce:
12 oz. fresh organic raspberries
2/3 cup powdered sugar

Soy Vanilla Ice Cream (try Turtle Mountain new product: Purely Decadent with Coconut Milk)

  1. Combine water, sugar, and lemon slices in a heavy large saucepan. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean then add them to the liquid mixture. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Add the peaches and simmer gently over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the peaches are almost tender. The cooking time will vary depending on the ripeness of the peaches.
  3. Allow the peaches to cool in the poaching liquid. Add vanilla extract this time (if you don't use vanilla beans). The peaches will continue to cook in the liquid as it cools, so be sure not to over-cook them initially.
  4. While the peaches are cooling off, puree the raspberries and powdered sugar in a blender until smooth.
  5. Strain the raspberry sauce through a fine sieve and into a bowl. Discard the seeds.
  6. Place peaches and raspberry sauce in the fridge until time to serve.
  7. To serve: Place 3 tablespoons of raspberry sauce in the center of each 4 plates and stir to create 4 large circles of raspberry sauce. In the center of each plate, place 1 peach and serve with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
Alternate serving method is just to put ice cream in the middle, put sliced peaches around it, and drizzle with raspberry sauce (see picture below).

Boy, this ice cream dessert topped it all, a fun filled weekend with a family. I know it is not red, white, and blue (more like red, white, and yellow) as the 4th of July dessert should be but it is absolutely divine and brought a family together in a hot summer day.