Sunday, April 10, 2011


DSC_0045My new fave – Jazz apple

I just made up the word veganesque. We are sort of trying to have a vegan night. I can be vegan, just not everyday. I am not at all against all those vaganists (another made up word?) out there. My love of meats, fish, eggs, cheese, and butter would hinder my ability to be vegan. My daughter has a friend who is vegan. Tall and slender with gentle soul; he was very impressionable when we first met. Now, whenever I hear the word ’vegan’ I always associate his face to that. I asked all kinds of dumb questions like ‘What? you can’t have honey!?” or ‘ How about skim milk?’ (like skim milk is not milk duh). I hope he forgave me already for being ignorant and being so rude. Anyway, I am fascinated by their disciplined, meticulous and committed act of which I have none. Can a lazy person be a vegan? Can I still be happy giving up all the foods I love? Most of all, what can I possibly make with a restricted list of ingredients? I may just have an apple and call it a vegan experience.

I look through cooking magazines and find this recipe. I already had quinoa in my pantry –a good size bag of quinoa from Costco and a red color one from Whole Foods. Quinoa is an interesting grain. Tiny seeds come in red or white (may have other color but I don’t know). I think red has a slightly more pronounced flavor. I usually like to cook it with rice. The hint of wild wheat like aroma that comes out of the rice cooker is just great. Though this dish lack color, it is homey and surprisingly satisfying.

Quinoa Risotto with mushrooms and Thyme
4 servingsDSC_0022

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and soak in water for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup minced or chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 8 ounce sliced white mushroom
  • 6 ounce sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms stemmed, slicedDSC_0003
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme divided
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Parmesan cheese - Omit if you are true vegan
  1. Boil 2 cups salted water in medium sauce pan. Add quinoa, cover and simmer at medium-low heat until tender; about 13 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until onion begins to brown about 5 minutes.DSC_0015
  3. Add garlic to the skillet and stir about 30 seconds.
  4. Add mushrooms and thyme and sauté until tender.
  5. Add wine and stir until wine is reduced and liquid is syrupy; about 2 minutes.
  6. Mix cooked quinoa into mushroom mixture and season with salt and pepper.

DSC_0019Relatively new product this Tofu Puree is made here in Portland Oregon under the parent company Morinaga which is famous for dairy products like ice cream in Japan. Right now it is sold only in Uwajimaya (the Japanese market). Or so I was told by friend who gave it to me along with recipes. It is a cross between soy milk and tofu. I made a smoothie with frozen berry and a banana. These strawberries are from our garden last year. We planted in a container then it just put new shoots around it, now strawberries are everywhere. The blueberries are from a friends garden. They have an acre of blueberries in their property and they allow everyone to pick. They are generous people and that’s a beautiful thing. I have mix emotions on this smoothie. I didn’t hate it but I don’t care for a second glass either. I wished it was cream instead of tofu puree. Anyway, we had this for dessert and that completed our great pretender.

Berry and Banana SmoothieDSC_0027

  • 2 cups soy silken puree
  • 7 oz. frozen strawberries
  • 1.4 oz. frozen blue berriesDSC_0014
  • 1 banana*
  • Sugar for vegan or Honey for veganesque to taste
  1. Pour Tofu Puree into blender at medium speed for 30 seconds.
  2. Add frozen berries and blend 1 minutes.
  3. Add banana and blend 1 minutes.
  4. Add sugar or honey to taste.

*OK, I did not like banana in this smoothie.DSC_0034

In conclusion, I can make wonderful dishes without whole lists of no-nos. I was still happy. I am certain there are many great recipes out there and also with substitution, I will be just fine. I have new respect for people who choose to eat this way. Even though I can’t be all the way vegan, I believe we could still be friends and respect our choices. I will continue explore new vegan recipes and I hope to share with you someday.


  1. Ah. I'm laughing at that memory. I think we call people who put parm on vegan risotto vegetarians. :) Looks great. Except I really dislike shiitake mushrooms. Is there a word for that kind of person?

  2. Hey, How is he doing? It doesn't have to be shiitake mushroom. Do you like erengi?

  3. That is the first time I've heard of Tofu puree? "giggles" how have you been Nin?

  4. elle marie, I'm doing just fine. I hope you're doing well too. I just want you to know that my favorite Itoen's vegetable juice is '紫の野菜’but’一日分の野菜’is not bad either. I buy them along with ’とろふわプリン’at konbini store. I really miss Japan right now.

  5. This article is really good for all newbie here.