2017 New Year’s Meal

2017nymealHappy New Year dear vegan community!!

I haven’t posted anything since my birthday in September. I’ve been busy cooking and baking for the last 5 months. In fact, I was so busy cooking and baking, and learning restaurant business, that I couldn’t find any moment to post until now. This is an abbreviated version of a traditional Japanese first New Year’s meal. I had this at noon on the New Year’s Day, yet it was the first meal of 2017. I love love Japanese black beans simmered with tamari and sugar. They are so good and sweet. They are my favorite dessert.

Toasted rice cake in miso soup with lotus root, carrot, Japanese sweet potato, shimeji mushrooms and scallions
Quick pickled lotus root and carrots
Japanese black beans simmered with tamari and sugar


Tofu Dressing Salad


Sweet and cold. A nice summer side dish. A cake of tofu is in the salad dressing. I haven’t made this dish for such a long time. I was flipping my old scrap cooking recipe book and I saw something like this in it. I reduced amount of sugar. I love sweets, but too sweet is too sweet. You can make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a few days.

1 carrot
1/2 cake konnyaku
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 slice aburaage (fried tofu pounch)
1 cup snap peas, green beans, or shelled edamame (or steamed and roughly cut spinach)

Tofu Dressing:
1 cake tofu (300 g)
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce or tamari

Cooking broth:
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp sake
1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 1/2 cup mushroom soaking water

  1. Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in 1 1/2 cups warm water.
  2. Drain tofu by pressing it between palm of your hands.
  3. Boil konnyaku for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour hot water from tap over aburaage. Squeeze water out.
  5. Cut carrot, aburaage, and konnyaku in thin strips.
  6. Cook carrot, aburaage, konnyaku and dried shiitake mushrooms in mushroom soaking water + other seasonings for 5 minutes until carrot becomes soft. When it is cool to touch, cut stems out of shiitake mushrooms and cut the caps in thin strips.
  7. Boil snap peas for a minute until they become bright green. If you are using frozen edamame, thaw them and shell them.
  8. Make tofu dressing. Pulse sesame seeds in a coffee grinder for a few seconds. Mix all other tofu dressing ingredients well with a hand blender.
  9. Drain vegetables. Lightly mix them with tofu dressing.
  10. Chill.


Carrot Soup & Avocado Toasts = A Perfect Light Lunch

This carrot soup is quick to make if you have vegetable broth already made. I used a vegetable broth in a bag this time to make this soup. The result was delicious. Sometimes you need to take a short cut.

Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup

Ingredients (makes 4 cups):
3/4 lb carrots
1 small potato
1 small yellow onion
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper to taste

  1. Chop carrots, onion, and potato into big chunks.
  2. Put everything in a big enough pot. Bring it to boil.
  3. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until everything becomes soft.
  4. Take the bay leaf out. Let it cool little bit. Blend it until it becomes smooth.


Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

These lovely green toasts will make up the other half of your lunch.

Ingredients (makes 2 toasts):
1/2 ripe avocado
2 slices of your choice of bread
10 grape tomatoes
2-3 tsp lemon juice or lime juice
1 tsp cumin
sea salt and black pepper to taste
a dash of cayenne

  1. Mash avocado. Mix with all the spices and lemon juice.
  2. Halve grape tomatoes.
  3. Toast the bread.
  4. Spread avocado on the toasts. Sprinkle halved grape tomatoes on top.

Roasted Butternut Squash Leek Apple Chowder


I found a good creamy curried butternut squash soup recipe the other day. But if you put curry powder in a soup, it kinda becomes all the same flavor and I love curry, but sometimes I want just hearty squashy chowder. This is a winner. Just in time for Thanksgiving.

2 lb butternut squash
3 apples
2 leeks
1 onion
2 carrots
3 small colorful potatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs maple syrup
1/2 cup apple cider
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp rosemary
1 bay leaf
a few garlic cloves

Roast vegetables: Chop leeks roughly and wash well with water. Drain. Core apples and chop roughly. Quarter an onion. Keep 1/4 of the butternut squash on side. Halve the rest of butternut squash. Scoop seeds out. Rub little bit of olive oil on the cut side. Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Combine the rest of chopped vegetables in a big baking sheet/pan, drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil and maple syrup. Roast in an oven at 350 ºF for 30 minutes or until everything becomes tender. Let them cool.

Cook garnish vegetables: Peel the remaining butternut squash. Dice butternut squash, carrots, and colorful potatoes at 3/4″. Boil 4 cups water. Put all of diced vegetables, salt, bay leaf, crashed garlic cloves, rosemary, and black pepper in the boiling water. Cook 5 minutes or until everything becomes tender. Remove garlic cloves and bay leaf. Separate vegetables from the cooking water. Reserve the liquid.

Assemble chowder: Put some of the roasted vegetables and water from the cooking vegetables in a blender. Blend until smooth. Repeat until all roasted vegetables are purred.  Mix the purred vegetables, cooked vegetables, remaining cooking water if there was any, apple cider and apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and black pepper, if you desire. I didn’t have to put anything else in it.

Roasted Vegetable Rice Bowl

Roasted Vegtable RIce Bowl

Roasted Vegetable Rice Bowl

When outside temperature drops down below 50 ºF, Sunday evening is a roastie night for me. I go to a corner stall of Thompkins Square Park Farmer’s Market right by my apartment during the day. Today I picked up a butternut squash,  an acorn, parsnips, carrots, and apples. I love Quintessence’s green house dressing. I tried to create it in my way. I was not successful to recreate their flavor, but I made a pretty good green dressing. I thought my green dressing was especially good on roasted zucchini, fresh tomatoes, and brown rice.

Ingredients (makes plenty of 2 bowls):
2 or more of roasted vegetables (acorn, parsnip, carrot, zucchini were used here)
1 fresh tomato (chopped)
2 cups cooked brown rice

For Green Dressing:
3 scallions
1 garlic clove (pressed)
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp your choice of herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, basil)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

  1. Roast vegetables. Halve acorn. Scoop out seeds. Slice in 1/2″ thickness. Slice parsnip, carrots, and zucchini in 1/4″ thickness. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables and lightly toss. Line them up on baking sheets without overwrapping each other. Roast them at 360-375ºF for 20-30 minutes until they are tender. Carrots and parsnips take almost the same time, so you can put them on a same baking sheet. Set a timer for 10 minutes and check them every 10 minutes.
  2. Make dressing. Chop scallions roughly. Put all dressing ingredients in a food processor or a blender. Process until it becomes smooth.
  3. In a big bowl, scoop cooked brown rice. Pile up as much as roasted vegetables you like on top of it. Scatter chopped tomato. Serve with the green dressing.

*What you see dark brown sticks on the upper right corner of the image is kimpira gobo. I had it made, so I just throw it in. It was a good combination.

Vegan Meatballs (GF)

Vegan Meatballs over Quinoa Spaghetti

Vegan Meatballs over Quinoa Spaghetti

This is my first trial of vegan meatballs. I’ve been collecting recipes for them. I tweaked a bit of it. They are yummy by themselves without tomato sauce as well.

Ingredients for 20 golf ball size meatballs:
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms
1 cup chopped kale
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup cooked black beans or kidney beans
3 garlic cloves (minced)
3/4 cup coarsely ground walnuts, sunflower seeds, and/or pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup roughly ground rolled oats
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
a pinch of ground nutmeg
olive oil

  1. Splash olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Heat it. Sauté onion, garlic, kale, carrots and mushrooms for a few minutes until they welt.
  2. Smash cooked beans with a folk.
  3. Put cooked vegetables, beans, and all the remaining ingredients in a big bowl. Mix it well.
  4. Roll the mixture into golf ball size. You will make about 20.
  5. Coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Place meatballs on the baking sheet. Preheat an over at 360ºF.
  6. Bake meatballs for 20 minutes. Gently flip them. Bake another 20 minutes.

*I used leftover marinara sauce and served the vegan meatballs over cooked quinoa spaghetti.

Wild Rice and Tofu Salad with Miso Dressing

Wild RIce Tofu Salad

Wild Rice and Tofu Salad

I wanted to make this wild rice salad, and that was why I cooked wild rice a couple of days ago. Finally I could get to it. You have to cook a few things separately, but yes, it was worthy it.

Serves 2 as main course or 4 as side dish

Ingredients: 1/2 cup un-cooked wild rice (1 1/3 cups cooked), 1/2 bunch kale, 3-4 green scallions, 14 oz firm tofu, 1 carrot, 1 bell pepper (any color), 2 cups bean sprout (optional), 1″ fresh ginger, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 Tbsp sweet white miso, 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp coconut oil, 1/2 tsp hot sesame oil or a pinch of cayenne, salt and pepper, 1 Tbsp olive oil

  1. Cook wild rice. Let it cool.
  2. Drain tofu on a slanted plate for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Chop scallions and kale. Heat a frying pan. Splash olive oil, sautée kale and scallion for a few minute until they become soft. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Set it on a side.
  4. Julienne or thread a carrot. Chop a bell pepper.
  5. Wrap tofu with a paper towel to take moisture out. Cut it into 1/2″ cubes. Heat a frying pan with coconut oil, cook tofu in it until they become lightly brown. Splash 2 Tbsp soy sauce over them.
  6. Make Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk white miso, rice vinegar, orange juice, hot sesame oil, and grated ginger.
  7.  In a big bowl, mix wild rice and vegetables. Pour the dressing over and mix lightly.
  8. Put the salad mixture in a bowl and sprinkle cooked tofu over. Serve room temperature or chilled.