Tag Archives: vegan

Russel’s Favorites

This month we feast on a collection we like to call: “Russel’s Favorites.” Russel has been a vegetarian for almost a decade and he shares with us tonight his favorite dishes; Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Spinach Spheres, and Black Bean Soup/Stew. Dessert comes to us by the lovely Chris who bought Tiramisu from Fresh & Easy (hey we can’t cook EVERYTHING) and Peanut Butter Bread with Carob chips prepared from scratch by our host, Russel. Avory prepared the appetizer: Cheese Torta.

What will you need to recreate this delectable menu?


Cheese Torta

  • 1 jar of Sun dried tomatoes
  • 6 oz of Pesto
  • 6 oz of goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup of softened butter
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 12 oz of softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese

Mix all of the cheese and sour cream (“whatever’s white” says Avory) with the butter. Saranwrap a round or square mold and spray with olive oil, layer sun-dried tomatoes on the bottom followed by the cheese mix, add a layer of pesto, and finally another layer of cheese mix. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. Serve with your baguette of choice.

Black Bean Soup (From “Quick & Healthy: Volume II“)

  • 3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or bullion cubes)
  • 2 cups of dried black beans (best to cook these the night before) — 45 minutes in a pressure cooker — fancy Russel!
  • 1/2 cup salsa, thick and chunky (we like whole foods 365 medium organic salsa)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Spinach Spheres (From: “Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen“)

  • 1 bushel of fresh spinach
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs or prepared crumb-style stuffing mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 2 Beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Steam the spinach until soft and drain. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the scallions. Cut off the root tips and top 2 inches of the green ends and discard them. Cut the remaining white and green parts into 1/4 inch pieces. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Add both to the bowl containing the spinach.

Melt the butter or margarine in a small saucepan and add it to the bowl. Add the bread crumbs or stuffing mix, eggs, Parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Mix thoroughly

Wash tomatoes, and slice. They should look like little coasters. Lightly grease a baking sheet or large baking dish with the oil and place the tomato slices on the sheet.

Divide the spinach mixture into 8 equal portions and shape each into a 2-inch ball (pretend you’re making snowballs). Put each ball into the center of a tomato slice. Bake for 20 minutes or until balls no longer look wet and are beginning to brown slightly. Serve immediately.

The number of contraptions used to make this meal was astounding! A pressure cooker, garlic mincer, food processor, “this double-tiered pot” also known as a steamer, a mixer…it’s cooking for engineers.

Dinner Reactions

“This Black Bean soup is phenomenal! It’s hearty, Beans beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat, ahhhhhh. I have to do the Kobayashi wiggle” — Chris

“Oh…I’m full. The spinach ball was just amazing! I feel like I was eating at a 5-star restaurant. It was delicious to look at and delicious to eat!” –Avory

“Simply superb. What else can I say? Russel’s cooking is as adventurous as he is! You experimented and it paid off, it’s really good” –Archana

“Everything is quite satisfying..mmmm, mmm, mmm” –Sheldon

Join us next month as we continue our adventures in eating with our host, Archana who will prepare North Indian food, YUM!

Tortilla Soup

Today’s Veggie Dinner was hosted by Romero, Avory, and Dyan at casa de Thomas in Scottsdale! This is our first Vegetarian dinner of the new year and we are all excited for a cold-weather standard, Tortilla Soup! Served with romaine and spinach salad with cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.


  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Ground cumin to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 4oz cans of chopped green chile
  • 5 14oz cans (or 4 cartons) of vegetable broth
  • 1 11oz can of whole kernel corn
  • 2 avocados
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • Tortilla strips
  • onions (if desired)
  • Brown rice
  • Lime juice

Brown rice takes ~30-40 minutes to prepare, so it should be started prior to cooking anything else. Prep work of chopping vegetables can be done while rice is cooking. Chop the cilantro, garlic, and onions.

Add cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt (to taste) to the vegetable broth and add crushed tomatoes, green chile, and corn. Season to taste. To garnish the soup, add the cilantro, cheese, and avocados, voila!

Remember, healthy eating is happy eating!