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Get them to the Greek

The February 2012 Veggie Dinner took us to another exotic locale…Greece! Jennifer and I (Eshe) co-hosted, it was one of the most preparation intensive meals to date. Good thing we had many Sous Chefs on hand.


  • Falafel chips and hummus
  • Greek Salad
  • Spanakopita
  • Baba Ganouj & Pita
  • Vegan Moussaka
Total cook and prep time: 2 hoursFor our appetizer, we cheated. The Falafel chips were purchased from Trader Joes as was the hummus. We doctored up the hummus a bit by adding additional garlic, lemon juice and salt (to taste) a hint of olive oil and a dash of paprika completed the dish.

Greek Salad

  • 1 English cucumber
  • 3 large Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 purple onion
  • Feta Cheese
  • Seedless kalamata olives
  • Your choice of lettuce (we used arugula, which isn’t very “Greek”)
Wash and tear your lettuce. Thinly slice the cucumber and purple onion. Cube and de-seed the tomatoes. Chop olives. In a large bowl, combine ingredients and toss. Add cheese last as garnish.  Top with your dressing of choice, we suggest a balsamic vinaigrette.


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 4oz feta cheese
  • crumbled butter
  • melted 10oz chopped spinach thawed, drained, squeezed dry
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 16 oz phyllo dough

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Slowly cook and stir onions until softened. Mix in spinach, dill and flour. Cook 10 minutes or until most of the moisture has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Mix in feta cheese, eggs, salt and pepper. Separate one sheet of phyllo from stack and evenly brush with melted butter. Place another sheet over it and brush on butter. Cut the dough into long strips about 3 inches wide. Make sure to keep the remaining phyllo covered with plastic to keep from drying out. place a heaping tablespoon of filling on the edge of the strip. Fold the bottom right corner over the filling. Continue turning over to create a triangle. Repeat with remaining phyllo dough and filling. Place the filled dough triangles on a large baking sheet and brush with remaining butter. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until golden brown.

Baba Ghanouj

  • 3 medium eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 8 oz feta cheese
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prick eggplants wtih fork and bake (turning several times) 40 min or until soft. Remove from oven and cool. Remove skin and chop. Lightly salt and drain in colander for 1 hour to remove excess liquid. Place garlic on foil and drizzle with olive oil. Place on a piece of foil on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Let cool and sqeeze garlic out. Place all ingredients into a blender except 4 oz of feta and the parsley. Blend for 3-4 minutes or until smooth and warm. Add remaining feta and parsley and blend for 10 seconds.

A word to the wise: Make sure that your blender has a powerful motor. Our Baba Ganouj was nearly just Baba on account of the lack luster performance of my run of the mill blender. It was touch and go, but in the end, success! The recommendation I would make – blend in smaller increments, adding a bit at a time instead of everything all at once.

Our recipe for Vegan moussaka came from the vegetariantimes.com, please visit their site for preparation details. The moussaka was the one dish that was less than stellar. Typically, moussaka is like a Greek lasagna, mine…not so much. It was far too wet, and did not hold together as it should have. Taste wise, it was decent, but nothing to write home about. What went wrong? I think the eggplant should have sweat out a little more water before adding, perhaps even grilled ahead of time, the same with the tomatoes. The seeds should have been removed and perhaps a little dehydration in the oven prior to cooking. Here is the side by side of what it should have looked like, and what it did:

What it was supposed to look like
what it did.

After dinner, I made the remainder of the moussaka into a delicious soup. A (cooking) failure is only a failure if it cannot be turned into something delicious to eat. Until the next blog, remember: happy eating is healthy eating!

Trinidadian, Veggie Style!

In 2012, we wanted to focus on the foods of the world. Two of our Veggie Dinner regulars, the Heningburg sisters, are Trinidadian. For our first Veggie Dinner of the year, they treated us to the tastes of their homeland, and what a treat it was.


  • Corn Chowder
  • Cucumber Salad
  • Plantains
  • Pelau
  • Callaloo
  • Trini-tea
Callaloo 6 to 8 servings
     ½ lb spinach
     ½ lb swiss chard
     6 cups vegetable stock
     1 onion, finely chopped
     1 clove garlic, chopped
     3 scallions, chopped
     2 tbsp fresh chives
     ¼ tsp fresh thyme
     ½ cup coconut milk
     1 (10 ounce) frozen okra
     2 tbsp Matouk’s (hot sauce/ salsa picante) pepper sauce
     salt & pepper to taste
Place the greens in a soup pot with stock, onion, garlic, scallions, chives, and thyme.  Cover and simmer over medium heat for about 20 mins. Add coconut milk, okra, and pepper sauce.  Simmer of medium heat for another 10 mins.  Salt & Pepper to taste. Remove from heat and transfer all contents to a blender.  Blend on low for about 20-30 secs. Serve.
Corn Chowder 6 to 8 servings
     8 fresh ears of corn
     1 small onion
     5 chives, minced
     2 garlic cloves, minced
     1 stalk of celery, minced
     2 small green bell peppers, chopped
     1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
     2 cups lentils
     6 cups vegetable stock
     3 roma tomatoes
     2 tbsp Matouk’s (hot sauce/ salsa picante) pepper sauce
     salt & pepper to taste
Remove the kernels from two of the ears of corn and place in a blender with ¼ cup of water.  Puree until most of the corn is processed into a creamy paste.  Set aside. Place the onion, garlic, celery, chives, cilantro, and bell pepper.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent. Rinse the lentils and add to the pot with the stock and tomatoes.  Cut the remaining ears of corn into 1-inch pieces and add to the pot.  Simmer for 15 minutes, then add corn puree and pepper sauce.  Simmer for 30 minutes more or until corn kernels are soft and the lentils have disintegrated.
     4 large really ripe plantains
     1 tbsp brown sugar
     canola oil
     ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
Peel the plantains and cut crosswise into 1-inch sections.  slice each section lengthwise into 3 pieces. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan until hot.  Add the plantains and brown sugar and fry until plantains are golden brown on one side, about 1 to 2 minutes.  (Do not overcrowd the pan or allow the plantains to scorch).  Remove from the pan and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.  Dust the plantains with confectioners’ sugar and serve hot.
Cucumber Salad
     1 lb cucumbers, sliced
     1 onion
     1 cup vinegar
     ¼ cup water
     ¼ tsp dill
In a saucepan, vinegar, water, dill and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat. Place cucumbers in a large bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
     1 (12 ounce) can black-eyed peas or 1 cups dry
     2 cups long-grain rice, slightly undercooked
     3 tbsp canola oil
     1 small onion, chopped
     1 clove garlic, minced
     1 cup coconut milk
     2 cups water
     1 bay leaf
     2 tsps curry powder
     ½ cup chopped parsley
     ¼ tsp fresh thyme
     2 carrots, peeled and chopped
     5 scallions, chopped
     2 tbsp Matouk’s (hot sauce/ salsa picante) pepper sauce
     ½ cup ketchup
If using dried peas, soak them overnight in 3 cups of water.  Drain.  Bring 3 fresh cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and add peas.  Simmer for 15 mins, or until cooked almost completely through.  Drain and set aside.  If using canned beans, drain, rinse with cold water, drain again, and set aside. 
Place the onion and garlic.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent.  Stir in water, the coconut milk, bay leaf, curry power, parsley, thyme, carrots, and scallions.  Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
Stir the rice, peas, pepper sauce, ketchup.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the peas and vegetables are tender (add ½ cup more water if needed).  Remove the lid and fluff the rice. The rice should be moist but not sticky.
We hope you enjoyed this food trip to Trinidad & Tobago! Please join us for our next journey, where myself and Jennifer will be preparing food from Greece!

December Potluck

Given how hectic the month of December is, we opted to spread the hosting wealth and do a potluck dinner.


  • Asparagus w/cream sauce
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Sweet potato casserole 
  • Salad
  • Pumpkin pie
Asparagus w/cream sauce
  • 1 bunch green asparagus
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • Nathan’s deli mustard
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 carton of silky tofu
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  • curry powder
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • olive oil
Blanch the asparagus (steam quickly) for about 2 minutes. Place the asparagus on a cookie sheet and drizzle in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for ~5 minutes on 350. You will need a food processor or a blender. Combine the ingredients (season to taste) for cream sauce in the food processor and blend until completely liquified. In a sauce pan, heat the mixture until warm and and serve with the asparagus.
Garlic mashed potatoes
  • 5-6 potatoes (of your choice) 
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 5 cloves of garlic (or more if you like garlic!)

Roast garlic in the oven for 15 minutes or until soft. Wash and dice potatoes into small cubes. Boil potatoes in a large pot until potatoes are soft. Drain potatoes (keeping some of the water to use for mashing). In a large mixing bowl, combine garlic, salt pepper, and potatoes. Mash until fluffy. Add Earth Balance buttery spread to taste.

Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 red onion
  • Kalamatta olives
  • chives
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 cob of sweet corn
  • 1-2 cups of sliced crimini mushrooms
  • marinara sauce (I like Whole Food’s 365 organic tomato basil)
  • Fresh basil
  • Italian seasoning
Split the spaghetti squash in half and poke several holes in the meat using a fork. Pour about 1 inch of water into a large, deep pan and place the spaghetti squash meat side down in the water. Bake on 350 for 45 minutes. Chop garlic, onion and red pepper, saute in olive oil and salt to taste. Remove kernels from the cob and saute with mushrooms. Scoop seeds from the spaghetti squash and discard. Scoop all meat from the spaghetti squash into a large pan and combine with sauteed vegetables. Add marinara and chopped heirloom tomatoes. Heat on low, add Italian seasoning, kalamatta olives and salt to taste. Garnish with chives and basil.
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Lemon juice
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • seasoning
  • brown sugar
Wash lettuce and slice off the bottom. In a sauce pan, saute mushrooms and red bell peppers. Combine lemon 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar in a container (with lid) shake well. Place lettuce on plate and add mushroom and bell peppers, drizzle with salad dressing and serve!
Sweet Potato Casserole
We are missing this recipe…Kat and Avory have to provide 🙂
Vegan Pumpkin Pie
We are missing this recipe…Russel will have to provide!
Yet another delicious meal to add to the veggie pantheon of goodness. Let us know if you attempt any of these and until the next time…happy eating!

Cinco de Mayo

This month in honor of Cinco de Mayo, we did the veggie dinner Mexican style! Our host for this month’s dinner, yours truly, Eshé. I am a west coast girl so Mexican food is one of my favorites! The great thing about this dinner is that (with the exception of dessert), it’s vegan! What was on the menu? Glad you asked.

The Menu

  • Appetizer – Chips and Guacamole
  • Main Course – Veggie Tacos
  • Drink – Virgin Margaritas
  • Dessert – Cake and Ice Cream (okay so we deviated from the theme…)

Virgin Margaritas

  • Limeade
  • Orange Juice
  • 4 large grape fruits

Juice the grapefruits and combine with limeade and OJ to taste (Jennifer our fabulous bartender did an amazing job!)


Chips — Purchase your favorite tortilla chips from your local grocery store, I am partial to Red Hot Blues which are the best. chips. EVER!


  • 5 ripe avocados
  • 1/3 purple onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 ear of fresh sweet corn, remove from the cob
  • 2 handfuls of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, chopped
  • Garlic powder
  • Seasoned Salt
  • Pepper

Skin the avocados and remove the seeds. Combine the avocados and lime juice in a large bowl and mash (a potato masher will do the job) until you have reached the desired texture (I prefer a little chunky). Add onions, bell pepper, olives, corn, and cilantro and mix. Add salt, garlic powder, and pepper to taste.

Main Course

Spices you will need:

  • Sea salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Ground cayenne pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Honey
  • Bragg (a must have for every veggie kitchen!)
  • Olive oil

Calabacitas (sort of — used as a taco filler)

  • 2 Jalapenos, finely chopped
  • 3 habanero peppers, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 pkg firm tofu, cubed and drained
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 yellow squash, chopped

Add olive oil (~2 tbsp) in a pan and add tofu. Stir in Bragg, cayenne pepper and cumin to taste, allow to simmer on medium heat for ~10 minutes. Add garlic, onions, peppers, and bell pepper, stir and allow to cook for ~5 minutes. Add zucchini and squash drizzle on about 1/2 tbsp of honey, add additional seasoning to taste, continually stir and allow to cook for ~10 minutes or until squash and zucchini are tender, cover and remove from heat.

Black Beans (used as a taco filling)
A crockpot will be your best friend to make your black beans. Combine 1 lb of black beans (rinsed and sorted) with about 3 times as much water (I eyeball these things, apologies), and add salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper to taste. Set your crockpot to cook on high for 6 hours.

Cilantro Lime Rice (also for taco filling)

  • 1 bag of long-grain brown rice
  • 2 handfuls of cilantro
  • 2 limes, juiced

A rice cooker is also a must-have! Combine the bag of rice with the appropriate amount of water (typically 1 part water to 2 parts rice). This will cook for approximately 40 minutes. When the rice is ready, stir in sea salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste!

Tortilla shells

  • 2 pkgs blue corn tortillas (purchased from Trader Joe’s)

In a pan on medium heat, add olive oil and fry the taco shell on each side, folding in half once it is soft enough to do so (otherwise it will break). When the taco shell is slightly crispy, remove from heat and shake excess oil. Place in a paper towel-lined pan to allow remaining oil to absorb. Repeat for as many taco shells as you need (we did 2 per person…well, Sheldon only got 1 taco…sorry Sheldon!)


  • 5 tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 lb sliced spinach
  • Pico de gallo (you can make it fresh…we bought it from Whole Foods)

Build your tacos:

In your taco shell, combine beans, rice, calabacitas, tomatoes, spinach, guacamole, and pico de gallo IN THAT ORDER (small joke), and enjoy! Be prepared to get messy…

For dessert, we were treated to a very tasty whole wheat vanilla cake from Whole Foods and Banana split ice cream, topped with fresh bananas!

This dinner was truly an exercise in collective cooking. There was so much chopping that needed doing, we used ALL of my cutting boards! It felt like Iron Chef in that kitchen 🙂 Team work made the dream work, and what a tasty dream it was. Join us next month as we travel to the home of our next host…Sheldon!