Saturday, May 18, 2013

Veggie Kebabs

Ahhh....spring is in the air. The snow has melted away. The sun shines warm. When I'm deciding what to make for dinner, BBQ immediately springs to mind. Jim is the grill master at our house, but I'm still the planner, prepper, plater, server - isn't that how it goes in most households? ;o)

We were both going to be working late-ish, so something "make ahead" was called for. We have vegetable kebabs quite a lot when we do a barbeque, because they're so good and clean-up is quick and easy. I've got a few recipes I rotate, and this one is great because most of it can be made ahead of time. I mix up the marinade and cut up some of the vegetables in the morning and let them soak all day. When it's time to get cooking, I prep the rest of the vegetables and thread the skewers while the grill heats up. I don't put all of the vegetables in the marinade. I've found that onions give off too much of their own flavour, so I leave those out. Also, the mushrooms tend to get too squishy and sometimes fall off the skewer, so I put those into the marinade for only a short time.

 After 10-15 minutes on the grill these babies are ready! The great thing about kebabs is that you can use pretty much whatever vegetables you like and it's also a good way to clean out the vegetable drawer in your refrigerator. This recipe can easily be doubled depending on how many hungry people you are feeding. Leftovers can be nuked for a quick lunch or for a side to another meal. 

Vegetable Kebabs

8 small potatoes, cut in half (leave skins on - new potatoes work really well, as do red) 

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonally in ½-inch thick slices
2 large red or yellow peppers, cut into chunks
1 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch thick slices
1 large purple onion, cut into chunks
12-16 white mushrooms, depending on size; cut in half if very large

Marinade: 1/3 cup red wine vinegar

                  1/3 cup apple juice
                  1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
                  2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
                  2 tbsp. agave nectar
                  2 tbsp. soy sauce
                  1 tbsp. olive oil
                  4 cloves garlic, pressed 
                  a few grinds of black pepper

Steam the potatoes for 6-7 minutes until just tender. Do not over cook them or they won't stay on the skewer. After you remove the potatoes, put the carrot slices into the steamer and steam for 6-10 minutes until just tender. Again, do not over cook them. 

While those vegetables are steaming, prep the peppers and zucchini. Put all of the vegetables expect the onions and mushrooms into a shallow dish. I usually use a 9 x 13 baking dish. Whisk all of the marinade ingredients in medium sized bowl and pour over the vegetables. Give it a good toss (I just use may hands) to get all of the vegetables covered with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 8 hours, tossing occasionally if you can.   

Half an hour before cooking, add the mushrooms to the marinade and toss again.  If you are using bamboo skewers, put them into some water to soak for half an hour. This helps to keep them from catching on fire. 

Thread the vegetables onto the skewers - you'll probably need 8-10 depending on how long they are and how much you want to put on each skewer - alternating to get a nice mix of veggies. Grill over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, brushing with marinade, until the vegetables are tender-crisp, about 10-15 minutes. 

Serves 4-6      

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tofu JD

Sadly, Vegan Dad isn't blogging anymore, but he was kind enough to leave his blog up with all of the lovely posts and recipes. While surfing around for something to make for dinner, I happened upon this. I had all the ingredients and it sounded super easy, so my dinner dilemma was solved.

Looks good, eh? It was extremely tasty. How could it not be? Um...hello! It has Jack Daniels in the sauce. 
I served this up with some good ol' garlic mashed potatoes and to contrast the spiciness of the sauce, sugar snap peas. 

These are naturally sweet and really don't require much cooking or seasoning. They are best done very simply. These I sauteed in a little broth with some scallions. After about 3 or 4 minutes, I threw in some chopped fresh dill. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end  finishes it nicely. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013


I'm not talking about recluses, I'm talking about cookies! My mother used to make these when I was little. I liked them then and I like them now.

This is one of those old-fashioned goodies that has stood the test of time. They are homey with warm spices,  sweet raisins and crunchy nuts. There are quite a few variations of this cookie as people have adjusted recipes to suit their tastes or to make them more trendy or fancy. Sometimes things should just be left alone. And, in my opinion, this is one of those cases. If it ain't broke....

To keep things traditional, I use the recipe from my '83 edition of Betty Crocker's Cookbook - before she went vegan. But it's easy to substitute the egg for a animal free alternative (try 1/4 cup of soft tofu, whizzed around in the food processor until smooth). While these bake, your kitchen will be filled with a nice cinnamon scent. That never goes out of style. 


1 cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup shortening
¼ cup margarine, softened
¼ cup cold coffee
1 egg
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I use half all-purpose, half whole wheat)
1 cup raisins
¾ cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cream together the brown sugar, shortening and margarine until fluffy. Add coffee, and egg and mix to incorporate. In another bowl, mix together baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Add to the wet mixture. Stir in raisins and nuts. 

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inched apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. (I always line mine with parchment paper for an easy clean up). Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Immediately remove cookies from  baking pan.