Monthly Archives: October 2012

Mofo: Recipe Review – Mr. Puppovich’s Tofu Cakes

My first experience with Crescent Dragonwagon’s wonderful recipes came when I purchased her comprehensive (and fantastic) Passionate Vegetarian in 2003.  For most of my senior year of college, my cooking was limited to vegetarian chilli, pasta and recipes from Passionate Vegetarian.  (My cookbook addiction developed later).  Like Passionate Vegetarian, Crescent’s latest book, Bean by Bean, reads like a novel.  Even without pictures, the stories and notes preceding each recipe make me anxious to get into the kitchen and start cooking.

For Mofo, I had hoped to do a full review of Bean by Bean, but I haven’t gotten around to trying enough recipes for that.  I did have time to try one recipe – the appealingly named Mr. Puppovich’s Tofu Cakes.  The cakes are intended to hit the same flavor notes as fish cakes, but without the fish (or fishiness).  I made my cakes burger sized and served them on buns with pickles, onions and tartar sauce.

Tofu Cakes, Smoky Potato Wedges (Vegan Food Subs) and frozen mixed veggies

Although it’s not a vegan book, the cake recipe is vegan and Crescent recommends making the tartar sauce with vegan mayo.  Since I didn’t have any silken tofu, the main ingredient in the provided mayo recipe, I whipped up a soy milk based mayo from the Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions.  The mayo was a snap to make.  I combined the milk and seasonings in my blender and then added xantham gum and buzzed everything together.  The xantham gum thickened everything instantly.  (Even though the photo is dark, you can see how thick the mayo got with just a few seconds of blending).

Overall, this meal was a success.  The tofu cakes had a good flavor and worked well as sandwiches.  My only complaint was that the tartar sauce recipe made enough for 4 times the number of tofu cakes, which meant that 3/4 of the sauce wound up in the trash.

According to the recipe notes, Mr. Puppovich was a dog, so it seemed only fair to let Shelby give the cakes a try.  She ate hers in 2 bites with no complaints.


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Mofo: Iced Coffee

cold coffee + soy milk + ice

When life gives you a baby who screams whenever you brew a pot of coffee….

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Mofo: My Week In Food 2

Sadly, my parents went home last Saturday, leaving Veggie Husband and I on our own when it comes to baby care.  I can’t believe how much harder it is to get things done without the extra help (especially now that the little guy has been having tummy trouble).

Here’s what we had for dinner this week:

Sunday – French Onion Soup from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker.  Using the slow cooker was a great idea.  I was able to throw the ingredients in during the baby’s morning nap and dinner was ready once we finally got the baby calmed down in the evening.  Unfortunately, I thought this version of onion soup turned out a little bland and I don’t think I would make it again.

Monday – Pasta with Marinara and Meatballs.  More pre-made and pre-frozen sauce with store-bought meatballs.

Tuesday – Takeout falafel platter and lemonade from Gaby’s.  This place is up the block from our apartment, but we’ve never tried it.  The falafel wrap is just $5 and the platter just $8.  For the price, this was a decent meal.

Wednesday – Meatball subs using leftover meatballs from Monday.

Thursday – takeout pizza.  Given how much pizza we’ve been eating, you may be wondering if we live upstairs from a pizza place.  Why, yes.  Yes, we do.

Friday – Italian Tofu from Vegan with a Vengeance, baked sweet potato, frozen mixed vegetables.  Marinated tofu is a great option for a busy day.  I pressed the tofu on Thursday:

After 24 hours in the Tofu Xpress, tofu is very firm and ready to absorb marinade.  On Friday morning, I marinated the tofu.  Then, at dinner time, I threw the tofu into my grill pan and cooked it for 5 minutes on each side.  In total, dinner was on the table in less than 25 minutes (spread out in 5 to 10 minute blocks over 2 days).  Check out those grill marks:

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Mofo: Cookbook Obsession – Review of Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites

Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites is packed full of creative twists on comfort-food recipes like barbeque tacos, orange chipotle “wings” and maple bacon donuts.  The book has color photos for many of the recipes, which I always consider a plus.

I’ve had good results with most of the recipes I’ve tried so far.  Stand-outs include the Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts (p. 67), which are yeast donuts baked in a muffin tin, and the Brocotato Soup (p.70).  The bacon flavored chickpea garnish for the soup is fantastic.

Since many recipes in this book are high in fat, I use the book for a once-in-a-while treat.  That made it easy to find recipes that I hadn’t made before, but was anxious to try.

One benefit of being home on maternity leave is that I  can (baby willing) make a hot breakfast in the middle of the week.  I will confess that all the cooking below was done before the baby was born.

I started with the Coconut Creme Brulee Baked Oatmeal (p. 43).  Oatmeal is baked in a coconut-milk based custard and then topped with brown sugar, which is carmelized under the broiler.  I baked my oatmeal in individual ramekins, reducing the baking time to 20 minutes.  I’m not usually a big oatmeal fan, but I really enjoyed this recipe.  The baking technique kept the oats firm and the custard creamy — much better than the oatmeal mush I usually wind up with using the stove.


After making the oatmeal, I had half a can of coconut milk left over.  Since I love pina coladas, the Pina Colada French Toast (p. 20) was an obvious choice.  Bread is dipped in a coconut-milk batter and then fried.  The french toast slices are topped with candied macadamia nuts, pineapple slices and rum syrup.  To save time, I skipped candying the nuts, but made all the other components.  As a coconut lover, I would have liked the coconut flavor to shine through more.  Next time, I’ll probably add some coconut extract.  Overall, though, this was another winner.


Finally, I made the Jalapeno Hot Dogs (p. 111).  I served them topped with salsa and Nacho Cheese Sauce from the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook.  Veggie Husband ate 3 dogs, so I think this recipe was a winner.


Update December 31, 2013:  The new edition of this book has been renamed Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food.  The cover is new, but the recipes are the same.


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Mofo: Post Baby Survival – My Week In Meals

Now that I have to plan my day around when my little guy is hungry (pretty much all the time), getting meals on the table for Veggie Husband and I has become quite a challenge.  Here’s what I ate during week one.


  • Breakfast (hospital) – oatmeal, veggie sausage patty, fruit, coffee, prune juice
  • Lunch (home) – leftovers
  • Dinner (home) – takeout from LA Vegan (mango salad, orange chicken, green curry, tofu with pumpkin and eggplant, satay) – we over-ordered so that we would have leftovers


  • Breakfast (home) – puffed grain cereal, soy yogurt, fruit (all purchased before going to have baby)
  • Lunch (home) – leftovers from LA Vegan
  • Dinner (home) – spaghetti, veggie sausage using Vegan Diner recipe, salad (sauce and sausages pre-made and frozen before baby was born)


  • Breakfast (home) – oatmeal with apple butter, raisins and walnuts, banana, coffee
  • Lunch (out) – bean and rice burrito
  • Dinner (out) – mixed green, fruit and nut salad, pasta

We chose restaurants with outdoor dining patios to avoid exposing baby to too many germs.


  • Breakfast (out) – latte and oatmeal at Coffee Bean
  • Lunch (home) – leftovers
  • Dinner (home) – Smokey Grilled Tempeh from Veganomicon, collard greens, roasted potatoes, cornbread adapted from Pillsbury Complete Cookbook recipe (recipes chosen for ease of preparation — the marinade for the tempeh is used to flavor the greens- and prepared with help from my parents, who were visiting)

Smokey Grilled Tempeh, Collard Greens, Roasted Potatoes, Corn Bread


  • Breakfast (home) – peanut butter and jelly sandwich, apple, chai tea
  • Lunch (home) – more leftovers
  • Dinner (home) – Chilli and salad (Chilli premade and frozen before baby was born)


  • Breakfast (home) – strawberry smoothie
  • Lunch (home) – more leftovers
  • Dinner (out) – Native Foods Greek Gyro Bowl, glass of wine, pumpkin cheesecake

Native Foods has a dog friendly patio, so the whole family was able to go.  The glass of wine was to celebrate weaning myself off my painkillers, which means I could safely have a drink for the first time in more than 9 months.


  • Breakfast (home) – tofu scramble, veggie bacon, toast, fruit, coffee
  • Lunch (home) – takeout pizza
  • Dinner (home) – chana masala, vegetable biryani, roasted brussels sprouts (sprouts and chana masala made by me, biryani was a frozen meal)

Baby slept well today and my parents were still in town, so I had more time to cook.

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Mofo: Favorite Recipes – Sweet and Sour Tofu Balls

I still vividly remember the disaster that was my first attempt at cooking tofu.  I prepared a veggie stir-fry, opened a package of tofu, cubed it up and dumped it in.  Soon, my veggies were covered in a mushy, tasteless mess of crumbled tofu.  It took a long time, but I eventually gave tofu another chance.  (And thanks to my trusty cookbook collection, I learned that I should have pressed, marinated and sauteed or baked my tofu before dumping into my stir-fry).

One of my favorite tofu recipes is the Sweet and Sour Neatballs from Dreena Burton’s first cookbook, the Everyday Vegan.  Tofu is combined with veggies and seasonings, rolled into balls and baked.  The baked balls are topped with a perfectly balanced sweet and sour sauce.  I like to add sauteed onions, peppers and pineapple tidbits directly to the sauce.  (The sauce and balls should be kept separate until they are served because the balls are somewhat delicate).

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Mofo – The Giving Mutt with Shelby: Animal Acres

Animal Acres is a farm animal sanctuary located about an hour from Los Angeles.  It’s now affiliated with Farm Sanctuary and it’s home to more than 100 animals including these tasty majestic looking chickens and rooster.

Recently, Mom and Dad volunteered at the sanctuary during a monthly “Work Party” volunteer day.  Unfortunately, dogs are not permitted to volunteer, but I was able to discern the following based upon a careful sniffing of Mom’s sneakers:

Volunteer day is a chance to meet the residents of the sanctuary and help them keep their homes nice and clean.  In addition to learning how to properly massage a pig, you’ll have the chance to scoop plenty of poop — chicken poop, pig poop, sheep poop, turkey poop — I’m so jealous I missed it.  I would have loved to roll around in all that stinky hay.  (Work gloves and face masks are provided).  Mom said the best part was cleaning up the turkey barn because the turkeys are like feathered dogs — very social and curious.  After a hard day of farm labor, volunteers share a vegan potluck.  Apparently you work up quite an appetite because Mom came home and ate even more despite having gorged on all sorts of goodies at the farm.  Here I am begging for my cut:

[Editor’s Note:  The work parties are open to older kids and teens, so it’s a great opportunity for families to volunteer together.  Younger kids can tour the sanctuary during monthly tour days or special events.]

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