Monday, May 16, 2011

My new published recipe and a surprise package

I have been going through a lot lately, I have been fighting an infection due to several painful abscesses on two of my teeth. I am having a surgery next week and I have been a mess because of that. My anxiety and fear from the surgery are making my life miserable and I cannot wait for this to be over. In the last few days two very nice things happened that made my days a little brighter and put a smile on my face. Several months ago Eating Well bought a recipe from me. They recently published the recipe in their newest cookbook and sent me a copy. I was thrilled to see my recipe in a beautiful cookbook. It felt really good :-) They even took a nice picture of the pie and put in the cookbook as well. That is probably one of my best recipes for a dessert so far: "Chocolate Raspberry Tofu Pie".

This is the cookbook :-) You can buy it from Amazon, it has a lot of vegan recipes, and most of the vegetarian recipes in this book can be easily veganized. Each recipe has a nutritional information and many of them have very useful and informative notes.

Few days ago I got a beautiful surprise package from my friends at the Czech Vegan Society .
The package was full of vegan goodies, spices, salamis, pates, delicious cookies, spreads, puddings, and a big supply of my favorite vanilla sugar that I use for baking :-) These guys are wonderful, they are working very hard on making Czech Republic a better and more compassionate place and they are raising awareness about veganism and cruelty-free living. Czech Republic is fairly new to veganism and there is not a big vegan community so it is very impressive that they are doing this despite all the hard-headed meat-eating population. Please, check out their website, they have an English version as well.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Gnocchi with sauerkraut and caramelized onions aka Hairy Dumplings

When I lived in Czech Republic I used to visit my great-grandma and grandma's house every summer. They have a very old, but beautiful house with a cute garden and tons of rescued animals. Their house is just a few miles away from the German and Polish border. I enjoyed hanging out with the animals, eating fresh raspberries straight from the garden and swimming in a nearby lake. One of my favorite dishes that I would eat there were "hairy dumplings". They are basically small dumplings tossed with sauerkraut and served as a side dish to a baked pork. The pork part was always an issue for me so I would just eat a double portion of the side dish and didn't miss out on anything. The funny thing is that the name hairy dumplings was originally given to that dish because of the sauerkraut part, but at that house, sometimes the dish was truly hairy since there were so many animals all over the place- dogs and cats in the kitchen and dining room so you can imagine that some of their hair would get into the meal......
I missed that dish so much that I decided to recreate it and veganize it here in the US. Real dumplings take a lot of work and time to prepare so I have been using potato gnocchi instead. Gnocchi are perfect for this, but feel free and make little dumplings instead if you prefer that. Try not to skip the caraway seeds since they give it a nice Czech flavor.

Gnocchi with sauerkraut and caramelized onions
aka Hairy Dumplings

1 16-oz package vegan gnocchi (or homemade-about 3 cups cooked)
2 cups sauerkraut
3 Tbs oil
2 tsp ground caraway seeds
2 tsp sugar
1/3 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water (or more if necessary)
1 small onion, cut into thin circles
extra salt to taste


Heat 1 Tbs oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add sauerkraut, water, ground caraway seeds, 1/3 tsp salt, sugar, stir and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbs oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook 8-10 minutes, or until nicely browned, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle onion with little bit of salt and carefully remove from the skillet. Place onion on a layer of paper towels to drain excess oil.
Cook the gnocchi according to the package directions.
Toss warm gnocchi with sauerkraut and top with fried onion rings.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Roasted lemon pepper asparagus

I love asparagus! I love it grilled, steamed, sautéed, and roasted. I love it in risotto, soups, warm salads, as a side dish, but most of all, I love eating it by itself with some lemon juice, salt and black pepper. This is a very easy and quick method that creates mouthwatering results. You can eat it warm, fresh out of the over, or cold the next day.

Roasted Lemon Pepper Asparagus

1 pound fresh green asparagus, the bottoms trimmed about 1 inch of each stem
1-2 Tbs olive or canola oil
juice from 1/2 lemon (or more if you want tangier flavor)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 500 F. Lightly grease large baking sheet. Rub each asparagus stem lightly with oil and lemon juice and place on baking sheet, in one layer. Season with black pepper and salt.
Bake 5 minutes. Flip asparagus (using tongs or a fork, be careful not to burn yourself) and bake 5 more minutes.