Red lentil, mushroom and spinach curry

From MSN's online edition of the Australian Women's Weekly (thanks, Google!) Modified slightly.

They say it's best made just before serving and not good for microwaving, but I disagree. It's better the second day.

1 cup dried red lentils
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small onion, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 small green chili pepper, sliced thinly
½ lb mushrooms, halved
1½ cups vegetable stock
½ cup water
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 10-oz or 1-lb package of frozen spinach, defrosted

1 cup yogurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon salt

Heat oil in wok or large frying pan. Add seeds, stir-fry until fragrant. Add onion, garlic, ginger and chili; stir-fry until onion is soft. Add mushrooms; stir-fry until browned lightly.

Add drained lentils, stock and water; bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until lentils are tender.

YOGURT SAUCE: Meanwhile, combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Add garam masala and spinach to curry, stir until spinach is wilted; transfer to a serving dish.

Vegetarian "Meatloaf"

I won't lie to you--it looks kind of like dung. It's cheap, though. (Shockingly, I "invented" this in college.)

Vaguely based a recipe for lentil-carrot burgers from a PETA cookbook, which I modified because they didn't stay together very well and I'm too lazy to form a bunch of burgers and fry them a few at a time.

1 pound lentils
1 onion
2-3 carrots
1 can tomato paste
1 egg (optional)
onion powder
garlic powder
dried parsley (optional)
bread crumbs (so far I've always used seasoned bread crumbs just 'cause someone gave me a can of that kind)

Cook the lentils until they're fairly soft. While they're cooking, chop the onion and grate the carrots. Sauté the onion and grated carrots in some oil until they begin to get slightly brown. [I'm not sure that grated carrots are usually easy to saute; they don't quite come out like carrot chunks would, but it does something to them, and since I use a teflon pan, they don't stick or burn].

Mash the lentils with a fork or potato masher. If you need to use a fork, make sure to cook them really well as it will make the mashing eaier. Add in the cooked onions and carrots, the tomato paste, the egg (if using) and the spices (to taste - I use at least a tablespoon of paprika, usually a lot more). Then add the bread crumbs - add enough to make it bind the mixture together. It's really pretty flexible. If you're the only one who's gonna eat it, it's easier (and kinda fun) to mix the bread crumbs in with your hands.

Pat the whole mixture into a greased 2-quart glass pyrex dish and bake at 350 for awhile (usually at least 30 minutes). Sometimes I cover it if the top begins to look really dry.

It doesn't hold together that well immediately after it comes out of the oven, but if you let it cool, you can slice it and microwave individual servings.

The original recipe was as follows:

Lentil-Carrot Burgers

¼ c chopped onion

¼ c grated carrot

¼ c water

3 c cooked lentils, mashed

2 TBS chopped fresh parsley

3 TBS tomato paste

¾ c bread crumbs

salt to taste

Cook the onion & carrot in the water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain off excess water, then combine onions and carrots with remaining ingredients. Add a little water if needed. Form into patties & fry in a lightly oiled frying pan until browned on both sides & heated through –about 10 minutes.

Makes about 10 patties

Takes about 25 minutes.

Rice-bean chili

Adapted from a booklet of recipes from the US Rice Board (or something like that)

Saute for 5 minutes in the bottom of a large pot:

1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs. oil

1 28-oz can of tomatoes (chopped or whole--chop them up yourself if they're whole)
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans
1 15 oz can kidney beans
1 can of corn, drained
2.5 cups water
1 cup brown rice (partly cooked)
Chili powder and cumin to taste

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer ~30 minutes. Watch it carefully and make the flame really low, because sometimes it starts to burn/stick. I don't always pre-cook the rice, but sometimes when I don't the rice doesn't seem to cook all the way.

Sesame Chicken Salad

Yes, I eat chicken on the odd occasion. No, I couldn't tell you what defines those occasions, because I don't know.

Adapted from a very old edition of Sunset Publishing's Fresh Ways With Salads

Sesame Chicken Salad

2 TBS sesame seeds
1/4 cup canola oil
3 TBS lemon juice
1.5 TBS soy sauce
1.5 TBS rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 pound snow peas
1/2 pound bean sprouts
3 to 3.5 c. shredded cooked chicken

Toast sesame seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat, shaking pan often, until seeds are golden (about 5 minutes). In a large bowl, mix seeds, oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and ginger until blended. I usually double the amount of lemon juice, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and ginger--basically, everything in the sauce except the oil.

Fill a large pan halfway with water; bring to a boil. Add pea pods and bean sprouts; cook just until water boils. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Combine vegetables, chicken, and oil mixture and stir.

It's better after it's had a chance to sit for awhile.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

From the Moosewood Cookbook, but found here.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup (Serves 8-10)

3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 large cauliflowers, one chopped, one cut into neat and uniform little florets
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. salt
6 cups water
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
2 tsp dill
1 tsp caraway seeds next time I think I'll grind them first--they're kinda strange floating around in soup
black pepper to taste.

1.) Place the potatoes, garlic, onion, salt and water into a large pot. Add the chopped cauliflower chunks (reserve the tidy florets!). Bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are very soft (~30 minutes).
2.) While the veggies are cooking, steam the reserved cauliflower florets until tender.
3.) Puree the stewed veggies in batches in a blender. Or use an immersion blender, which would probably reduce your chances of spilling hot soup everywhere like I did. Return the puree to the original pot, stir in the steamed cauliflower florets and the remaining ingredients. Heat gently until the cheese is completely melted. Serve topped with extra cheese and fresh pepper.

Lentil-Rice Casserole, aka "Herbed Lentils and Rice"

Edit: I haven't made this in a while, but I was cleaning through some papers and found an index card which lists the amount of liquid as 3.5 cups. Not sure which is correct - I think I copied this directly from the book, but I can't remember for sure.
From Better Homes and Gardens' Meatless Main Dishes, which is © 1981 by Meredith Corporation. Better Homes and Gardens would like you to know that a serving of this dish provides 32% of the RDA of protein. Whoo hoo! I would like Better Homes and Gardens (and you, I guess) to know that most people don't consider chicken broth meatless.

2 2/3 cups chicken broth bouillon powder + water
3/4 cup dry lentils
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
*I usually double or triple the amount of each herb (not salt & pepper)*
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 oz Swiss cheese, divided in half

Combine broth, lentils, onion, rice, wine, and seasonings in an ungreased 1.5-quart casserole. Shred half the cheese; stir into lentil mixture. Bake, covered at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or til lentils and rice are done, stirring twice. Uncover casserole; top with cheese strips. Bake an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Serves 4

General Tso's Tofu

Found lots of places including, which mysteriously dubs it "General Tao's Tofu."

1 pound firm tofu
1 egg
3/4 cup cornstarch
vegetable oil for frying
3 chopped scallions
1 Tablespoon minced ginger
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2/3 cup vegetable stock I used water + bouillon powder
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
4 Tablespoons sugar
red pepper to taste I used dried red pepper flakes. they definitely don't mean red bell peppers, which some people seem to use in this recipe.
1 Tablespoon sherry (optional) it was better when I omitted it
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
steamed broccoli just let some frozen broccoli defrost. it gets soft enough when you coat it with the sauce and heat everything through.

I double the amount of all the sauce ingredients so as to make double as much sauce.

Drain, dry and cut tofu into 1 inch chunks. You can freeze tofu the night before to get a more chicken-like consistency, but it isn't necessary. Beat the egg and add 3 tablespoons water. I found that it's hard to beat the egg if you add the water first, for some reason. Dip tofu in egg mixture and coat completely. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cornstarch over tofu and coat completely. Watch out that the cornstarch doesn't clump up at the bottom of the bowl. If the cornstarch is clumpy, sift it or push it through a strainer. After three tries, the least frustrating way I've found to execute this is to coat a large surface with cornstarch, dip each piece of tofu into egg (making sure not too much egg is on the tofu) and then set it down onto the cornstarch-covered surface. Sprinkle cornstarch over the tofu through a strainer, and then kind of roll each piece around on the surface (which should still have a good layer of cornstarch on it) before putting it into the oil. Or, y'know, just don't use the cornstarch at all. I tried that once, and it wasn't awful. I need to experiment with non-cornstarch coatings, which I suspect will be much easier.

Heat oil in pan and fry tofu pieces until golden. Drain oil.

Heat 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil in pan on medium heat. Add green onions, ginger and garlic, cook for about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn garlic. Add vegetable stock, soy sauce, sugar, red pepper and vinegar. Mix 2 Tablespoons water with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch and pour into mixture stirring well. Add fried tofu and coat evenly.

Serve immediately with broccoli over your choice of brown rice.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 30 Minutes (wishful thinking; it takes much longer)

Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Found here. Originally from Post-Punk Kitchen.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup canned pumpkin, or cooked pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
optional: 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Have ready 2 greased baking sheets.

Mix together flour, oats, baking soda, salt and spices.

In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, oil, molasses, pumpkin and vanilla (and flax seeds if using) until very well combined. Add dry ingredients to wet in 3 batches, folding to combine. Fold in walnuts and raisins.

Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. They don't spread very much so they can be placed only an inch apart. Flatten the tops of the cookies with a fork or with your fingers, to press into cookie shape. Bake for 16 minutes at 350. If you are using two sheets of cookies on 2 levels of your oven, rotate the sheets halfway through for even baking. You'll have enough batter for 4 trays.

Remove from oven and get cookies onto a wire rack to cool. These taste best when they've had some time to cool and set.

I omitted the raisins and did use the ground flax seeds. I baked most of them on parchment paper, which was fine, but all of them needed slightly more than 16 minutes to bake.
They were a bit too sweet; if I make them again, I'll use closer to 1 cup of sugar and have them be more like muffins than dessert-y cookies.