Tag Archives: veganomicon

Early Morning Simian Craving

Friday morning I woke up with a need for something involving chocolate and bananas – and I had 2 hours to get to a meeting on time. It was one of those weeks. Yeah. So, my mission was clear: The World’s Fastest Banana Bread. I ‘used’ the Lower Fat Banana Bread recipe from Veganomicon, but it would be a shame to credit this loaf to Isa and Terry because I didn’t have any time for measurements. Only time for eatin’. So this bread didn’t turn out quite how I’d hoped – a little uncooked in the middle and brown on the bottom. I think I had a manic attack of the stirring-arm so the bread was also a bit gummy due to overmixing. Too much apple sauce too. But you know what? Whatever. Whatever! Chocolate chip banana bread is what I wanted and it’s what I gots. It’s actually pretty great after hanging out in the freezer and getting toasty in the toasty toaster oven. Besides, I got to prove to myself yet again that my measurement-eyeballing skills are not quite honed. And that, my friends, is a good lesson to learn.

I’ve Died and Gone to Asia

Those of you who don’t know me also do not know that I spent three months in China last summer. Those of you who do know me, know that it was CRAZY! I traveled between three cities, Kunming, Dali, and Tengchong, in the Yunnan province. The culinary experiences I had there ranged from incredible to downright horrifying. I wont go into too much detail about my travels here, because that would require pages and pages of pictures and I’m not sure how much you want to know about people eating dog. Yeah, really.

SO. Quick overview:

Kunming is a huge city with a population of 5 million and is known as “The City of Eternal Spring” because of its beautiful weather year-round. I managed to fare pretty well in Kunming because they have a strong tourist industry going and an entire street near Yunnan University dedicated to “Westerners.” Though I’m not sure what everything was cooked in, I at least experienced a lot of wonderful vegetarian food and was introduced to lotus root, spicy fried basil, Puerh tea, and a truly bizarre apple-vinegar drink. On the other hand, there was a Wal-Mart (!?!?!) that sold live turtles and frogs in the grocery section. Gotta love cultural differences!

Hm. Back to the lotus root. The other week I decided to venture down to my local huge Asian Market, Mitsuwa, to see what was cookin’. I was so happy with what I found there, and managed to bring home a huge haul (see below) including sliced lotus root! I tried to recreate a dish I had in a tiny cafe in Kunming. This time I also used black fungus, but I’m leaving it out of the recipe because I ended up throwing it out. There was something really … earthy … going on with that fungus.

Stir-Fried Lotus Root




1/2 lb sliced lotus root

1 small onion cut into 1/4 in slices

2 T sesame seed oil

2 t minced ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 t brown sugar

2 t soy sauce

Pinch of pepper

1/4 C vegetable stock


  • Preheat a wok on medium-high heat, then add the oil to coat wok.
  • Add salt, ginger, and garlic and sautee until fragrant.
  • Add onions and stir-fry until they start to become translucent.
  • Add lotus root and stir-fry for another 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle in sugar, pepper, and soy sauce and toss to coat.
  • Pour in the vegetable stock and stir to de-glaze the wok. Cover wok and let simmer for 5 more minutes.

On to the next city!
Dali is truly an experience. The “Ancient City” is a walled section of the city that is full of cafes, bars, fascinating people, and lots and lots of weed.


Just sayin’. There are little old women dressed in traditional Bai, Naxi, etc., garb who come up to you in the street with postcards in hand. They point to the postcards, as though trying to show you something important, and then whisper in your ear:

“Smoke-a ganja?”

Every day in Dali is an adventure. On one side of the Ancient City are the Cangshan mountains, and on the other side is Erhai Lake – the second largest lake in China. The landscape is unbelievably gorgeous. Oh, did I mention it’s a veggie paradise?


I was able to have wonderful tofu hot-pots, huge plates of stir-fried eggplant, and I even had some vegan apple pie one day – thanks to a crew of dread-lock bearing jugglers who opened the Rainbow Cafe! My absolute favorite food, however, was Baba. I have not been able to find a recipe for this stuff, and I’m pretty sure it’s not vegan but it was wonderful. Baba is a bready street food, much like paratha, that is stuffed with either a savory or a sweet filling. Being a psycho for sugar, I would always get the sweet variety that was filled with red azuki beans. The whole thing was about the size of an open hand, and it was warm and pan fried to a crispy golden flaky gaaaaaah. Only gutteral noises could describe this pastry.


So about these azuki beans – they were everywhere! My boyfriend came to visit me and every time he tried to eat one of his beloved ice-cream-popsicle-on-a-stick things, it was full of BEANS. He was not such a fan, but I am! I bought some azuki beans at the market, and last night I got to cookin’. I have a pre-packaged red bean dessert to try out, so I wanted to make something savory. Of course, I headed straight for Veganomicon and the Acorn Squash, Pear, and Adzuki Bean Soup with Sauteed Shiitakes.


I threw a few of my own spins on the recipe because I had:

Kabocha Squash

No Pears

TONS of azuki beans

Dried shiitake (every time I type this I feel like I’m saying something dirty, thanks to the PPK Boards.)

So what I eventually got was sort of a combination of my favorite Chinese foods: hot pot and azuki beans! It was more of a stew than a soup since I tossed in so many veggies. Fond memories of this picnic our friends Ping and Mae in Dali gave us spring to mind:


I’ll spare you any discussion of the food in Tengchong because it involved a lot of soup full of bugs and going to bed with a growling stomach. Need a cleansing retreat? Tengchong would be a great place to fast!

Gluten Free Cornbread Y’all


I checked out Veganomicon’s recipe for cornbread the other night for a dinner party, and I must say – as a Southern girl at heart, it wasn’t quiiiiite there. I think all it’ll take is adding a little more fat in the form of oil or margarine because the bread was just a bit dry for my taste. Next time I think I’ll add the corn kernels to add some interest. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free AP Flour simply because I have it and needed to do something with it, and everyone raved about how good it was. In fact, the comment that makes me beam with pride and just a hint of self-righteousness was exclaimed throughout the night:

“I can’t believe this is vegan!”


None of This Is Good For You

And that is precisely why I enjoy making them. I’ve had a cold and have been forced to sit inside for the past few days. I have a hard time staying still – even when I am knocked up with Sudaphed, Zicam, and Emergen-C. In my delirious OTC drug-haze I felt compelled to bake.

Zucchini Muffins

Well, ok let’s rewind for a second. I made these muffins while visiting my sweet precious girls, Chloe and Sarah, in Berkeley. The second day I was there Chloe got a sinus infection and the sky opened up with a brutal non-stop rain. We could do nothing but hang inside, watching episodes of Freaks and Geeks and baking with what they already had in their pantry. I wanted to make something vegan, and luckily these muffins don’t call for soy milk or margarine — two things the girls don’t have being omnivorous chicks. They DID have a few zucchini and bananas – score!

I halved this recipe from theppk.com


Combine these with this:

And any sick person is instantly cured. I’ve created a new panacea!

Jelly Donut Cupcakes

Whenever the boy goes into the studio to record, I know it’s time to start baking. His bandmates are bottomless pits for baked goods, so I can get all this good stuff out of the house before I devour an entire pan of muffins. Thank you boys, for your furnace-like metabolisms. The recipe is from Veganomicon.


Sidenote: I didn’t have enough confectionars sugar left for the top so they look a bit … gorey.

Dreena’s Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’d like to start out by saying — this recipe slays (SLAYS) every chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. SLAYS. I used spelt flour for the first time – hooray- and everyone I gave these to freaked out, not at all believing in their vegan-ness. To quote a conversation with my boyfriend:

Boy: These can’t be healthy with all that butter

Me: No butter, holmes.

Boy: OK, all that margerine.

Me: Nope.

Boy: What the hell is in these things!? WHY ARE THEY SO GOOD!?


Recipe from Everyday Dish

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (see note)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 cup unrefined sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
1⁄4 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
1 – 1 1⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup canola oil (a little generous)
1⁄3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). In a bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the sugar and salt, and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup with the molasses and vanilla, then stir in the oil until well combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry, along with the chocolate chips, and stir through until just well combined (do not over-mix). Place large spoonfuls of the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten a little. Bake for 11 minutes, until just golden (if you bake for much longer, they will dry out). Let cool on the sheet for no more than 1 minute (again, to prevent drying), then transfer to a cooling rack.

Note: Unbleached all-purpose flour or spelt flour produces a more classic cookie taste and texture, but you can use whole-wheat pastry flour and still get a delicious cookie. For a wheat-free version, use spelt flour, but add an extra 2-4 tablespoons of the spelt flour to the dry mix (the amount needed varies with brand of spelt flour and whether you are using a refined spelt flour versus a less processed spelt flour).

Note: If, as you are mixing together your batter it appears quite floury and thick, simply mix together a couple of teaspoons more canola and maple syrup and incorporate it into the batter. Sometimes humidity, type of flour used, and other factors can affect the density of the batter and so a touch more liquid may be needed.

Makes 9-12 large to average sized cookies

© Copyright 2005 Dreena Burton

Now that you are one step closer to e-diabetes, I should mention that I’ve been eating and making lots of actual healthy things (I promise) that I’ll post soon.